Will the Current Healthcare Reform Proposals Actually Control Healthcare Costs?

July 28, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

Everyone agrees that the current healthcare system needs to be overhauled. Doctors, nurses, practitioners, and caregivers labor every day in a system that can be mind-boggling to negotiate. Physicians know that they may be criticized or have their license threatened by their respective state’s Boards of Medicine if they step outside the current standard of care to use innovative therapies that may include nutrition, lifestyle, and supplementation. Ironically, it these same innovative therapies that have the potential to bring medical care costs down.
Now a number of states are weighing in: “The nation’s governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern Sunday about the shape of the healthcare plan emerging from Congress, fearing that Washington was about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without the money to pay for them.”
Massachusetts mandated universal care in an effort to address healthcare reform. Now Boston Medical Center, facing a $38 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in September, has sued the state, charging that Massachusetts’ universal healthcare law is “forcing the hospital to cover too much of the expense of caring for the poor.”

A Gallup poll finds that Americans feel controlling costs are a higher priority than expanded coverage. Unfortunately, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf tells us that the healthcare bills currently under consideration won’t meet President Obama’s goal of slowing the ruinous rise of medical costs.
Pulse of Health Freedom has also frequently noted the cost of medical errors, prescription errors, side-effects from FDA-approved prescription drugs, hospital-acquired infections, and “nosocomial events with unknown etiologies”—all of which cost us dearly. Healthcare reform needs to become a discussion on wellness. We cannot ration or cost-shift or mandate our way to better care, particularly with a system that is rewarded for more medicine. More medicine is not better care. More from the same broken system will not produce better results.
The many vested interests—hospitals, medical device manufacturers, health insurance firms, and big Pharma—are reported to be “on board” with healthcare reform. In fact, the head pharmaceutical lobbyist, former Congressman Billy Tauzin, promised his employers “a good deal” if they would defray $80 million over the next decade.
As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “The pharmaceuticals industry, which President Barack Obama promised to ‘take on’ during his campaign, is winning most of what it wants in the healthcare overhaul.” This is only logical since mandated insurance will increase the number of drug prescriptions written. The WSJ also notes that “Most of the major health industry lobbies seem prepared to concede the mile—as long they get their inch.”

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