September 2009 Archives
The link above is from The Boston Globe newspaper. It is about the pressure from an interest group, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, that is being put on Max Baucus. Baucus (D, Montana) is the Senate Committee on Finance Chairperson. The first draft of the bill didn't include Single Payer or a Public Option to gain bi-partisan support. Giving into the opposition is interesting because Democrats are usually thought to be the ones championing the cause of a Public Option.
The term universal healthcare is thrown around but this bill with or without a Public Option is hardly universal at all. It is merely an option to have service with the government, like going to a public college or a private one. If this bill doesn't include a public option, I am not really sure what it does include.
I recomend watching the commercial as it is only a minute and the problem of having no health insurance is a common one for many Americans.
This is an entry on the POLITICO blog by Rep. Eric Cantor.
This blog post is a response to a Gallup poll released that said 57 percent of Americans believe that the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals. Cantor responds to this by advising we start from scratch in order to provide healthcare reform which Americans want, need, and can afford.
I believe his points are very valid, American values have long been extremely capitalist. It important that we reform health care without making it worse. The three guarantees Cantor talks about are I believe exactly what American health reform should take in to account. We need to reform health care in an affordable way, which will not ration care , or take away decision making from doctors and physicians. After reading articles and hearing the news i agree that the current plan has become too complex and covered in bureaucracies. In order to create a plan in which we won't ruin American health care, the advances in medical treatments, and preventative care democrats and republicans should make a new plan, using what resources we already have to lower costs and insure the quality of our health care.
One claim often made by proponents of health care reform is that the US spends the most money of any industrialized country (16% of GDP) but does not have good health outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality). Others further argue that the lack of insurance is costing citizens their lives, people are literally dying because of the lack of insurance. This article presents some interesting new data suggesting that the life expectancy lag (and the claims about poor health for the uninsured) may stem from factors outside the health system. This research is certainly controversial (and how do we explain poor infant mortality numbers?) but raises several important questions - what is the relationship between the health care system and actual health? What is the best measure to assess health system performance? Does the relatively good performance on heart disease, cancer etc really demonstrate good care for the poor (the opening question of the article)?
If these claims are right, why has reform been so contentious and partisan? Are both sides responding to issues above and beyond the actual policy suggestions?
This is an article from a few weeks ago by TR Reid. Whatever you think about the merits of health care reform (Obama's or otherwise), Reid's arguments are worth paying attention to. Much of the discussion of the international experience of health care is misplaced - placing a false coherence on the 'universal' systems in Europe and Asia. In fact, these countries are as different from one another as they are to the United States. The real question is what can we learn from a more nuanced analysis of the international experience? What tradeoffs do different models make - among consumer choice over doctor and treatment, cost-control, physician autonomy/reimbursement, state control of the medical sector etc? Is the US too 'unique' to learn from these diverse experiences?
this is kara
While Bartlett's style is controversial, it is an interesting column from the perspective of our class.Bartlett outlines, in livelier terms than we did, the relevance of the abstract concepts about program variation that we discussed in class - he discusses how universal spending, funded through social insurance (non-discretionary spending) at the federal level makes spending cuts difficult. In showing the combination of programs with pre-committed resources and a Congressional system that makes change difficult, Bartlett highlights the difficulties would-be reformers face. While Bartlett is certainly right that the design of US social programs makes cuts difficult, he is less convincing in characterizing the politics of reform. Is it really true that the rising number of elderly in the population puts cuts off the table? What about the rest of the population - still a majority - do they not count? Why do we see the same dynamics in the other countries he mentions (e.g. the UK), when they have different political rules, a different age structure and different social programs? Bartlett may be right that cutting programs is difficult, but his view of the political process could be more convincing.