This is not Rocket Surgery!
One of the comments posted on the Deseret News website (where I found this article authored by Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post Writers Group) said "This is not Rocket Surgery!", meaning health system reform.
And indeed, Mr. Samuelson makes the obvious point that Obama is promising everybody everything--nothing but blue sky from now on--and that is not possible. Something has to give.
I am reminded of Utah's House Speaker Dave Clark stating about one year ago that he was not interested in hearing what people wanted out of health system reform, he was interested in hearing what they are willing to give up.
For those challenged by Rocket Surgery, let me do the math.
Americans spend more than $8000 per person per year on health care, which is nearly two times the international average for first world countries. Despite that enormous outlay (mostly through taxation) Americans are most likely to die of disease/injury amenable to health care in the first world. And we are the only first world country with massive numbers of uninsured/underinsured citizens. And we are the only developed country where citizens frequently are bankrupted by illness and injury expenses. And we spend 5 times the international average on physician and hospital overhead. And our fifth leading cause of death is preventable hospital injury. And. . .well you get the picture.
In answer to Speaker Clark's demand that we should give up something, I suggest we give up spending so much money on health care. How? By giving up our extraordinary overhead expenses and poor quality, which both cost an extraordinary amount of money. Remember, this isn't Rocket Surgery.
To get back to Mr. Samuelson, as he said:
The administration had to make choices; it could emphasize expanded
insurance coverage ("access") or cost control, but not both. It chose coverage,
embracing the long-standing liberal grail of "universal" insurance. Millions of
Americans would receive more health care, though how much their health would
improve is uncertain (the administration can't logically argue that much health
care is wasteful and also that the uninsured will automatically benefit from
more of it).
But what if the administration had said, "We will stop wasting money on administering insurance and providing poor quality care. Those with health care bureaucracy jobs will lose them. Doctors and hospitals must improve or be left behind."
Since they did not say that in Washington DC, let's say it in Utah and mean it.
Dr. Joe Jarvis