health care envy

There’s an email that floats around a couple times a year. It details how wonderful the government health care plan is that our elected representatives get. The premise of the email is always the same: they should get the same crappy health care plans we do, so they’d have some incentive to fix them!

Now they’re proposing to make that same government health care plan available to everyone. Considering how rapidly prices are rising for my employer sponsored plan, how insanely expensive COBRA options are, and the complete absence of reasonable options for the self-employed head-of-household, having another option available sounds like a great idea.

If that option pressures private health care providers to become more competitive to survive, so much the better.

medicine: less is more

Annals of Medicine: The Cost Conundrum

…patients in higher-spending regions received sixty per cent more care than elsewhere. They got more frequent tests and procedures, more visits with specialists, and more frequent admission to hospitals. Yet they did no better than other patients, whether this was measured in terms of survival, their ability to function, or satisfaction with the care they received. If anything, they seemed to do worse.

It appears that even in medicine, the old adage, “less is more” rings true.

Most Americans would be delighted to have the quality of care found in places like Rochester, Minnesota, or Seattle, Washington, or Durham, North Carolina—all of which have world-class hospitals and costs that fall below the national average. If we brought the cost curve in the expensive places down to their level, Medicare’s problems (indeed, almost all the federal government’s budget problems for the next fifty years) would be solved. — (same article)


If this is true, it certainly explains the  current administrations incentive to tackle our nations health care system.