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View Diary: When Can We Expect Health Care Reform (Whoever Wins)? (369 comments)

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  •  'tis an excellent review ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... but I have to add, from a point of view of diminished expectations, that developing consensus on how to reform the U.S. health care delivery system has been almost comically impossible for a generation.

    I appreciate Obama's disclaimer that "we need to work on controlling costs first."

    But health care in this country is a $1.5 trillion-plus monster, north of 15 percent of GDP and heading for 20 percent, with costs increasing, according to latest figures I've seen, 7 percent annually.

    I think sometimes that the only way we can reform it is in a way that will actually drive up costs in the short term -- and that is, to compete with it from the ground up.

    Free clinics, staffed by medical personnel who are paid the going rate. Free med school for doctors who give X years to the public system and continue to run "blended" practices.

    And, probably, the partial outsourcing of some unaffordable medical procedures and surgeries. And bring dental in under the new tent, too.

    I don't know that we can reform the existing system in any way that actually means much for quality of care and affordable costs. I think we might have to challenge it from the outside and let it reform itself in response.

    •  Updated Spending Numbers (0+ / 0-)

      Health care spending is $2.1 trillion as of 2006, expected to double by 2017--a number that will be roughly 20 percent of GDP. The projection assumes 6.8 percent spending growth--which is at the low end of recent health spending growth. By 2017, you're looking at $13,000+ annually in per capita health spending, which is an enormous amount of money--particularly given that people like me, in their 20s, tend to do nothing more than see a doctor for a routine physical (if that.)

      I don't particularly like Republican solutions to health reform, but the right wing does correctly focus on costs--high costs for treating really sick people do price a lot of people (both employers and individuals) out of being able to afford insurance.

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