Tuesday, November 03, 2009

She who frames the healthcare debate...wins.

When the topic of healthcare reform took center stage this summer, I thought I was the only one who felt that "healthcare reform" had suddenly become code for "let's-change-health-insurance." 

Yes, I was certain that I was missing something.  It's like the "3.5M jobs saved or created" metric which I wrote about last March.  I thought I was the only one disturbed by how stimulus programs would be measured and conveyed to the public, because I wasn't seeing or hearing any views similar to my own.  (I have plenty of company.)
Surgeons, Wikipedia

Back to the issue of healthcare reform -- the only reform measure that counts is the one that lowers healthcare costs.  That should be how we frame the national discussion and measure success or failure. 

Lowering the cost of that pill, that doctor visit, that MRI, whatever it is -- would benefit us all (except the stakeholders of the present system).  I do not see how the House bill will lower health care costs for anyone. 

Instead, the bill seems like it will perpetuate, expand and institutionalize the present cost structure.
Insurance policy premiums mirror costs in our healthcare system but the industry is often treated more like a satanic driver of those costs. 

When costs go up, insurance premiums -- it stands to reason -- must also go up.  The sleight of hand here is that Team Obama, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Reid, etc. have managed to shift the focus from lowering healthcare costs, to demonizing the entire health insurance industry.

They are also solving an accounts receivable problem for the healthcare industry with a feel good, social health policy.  If their bill passes, everyone will be covered including slow payers, partial payers and non-payers.  And then we'll see more timely revenue streams to the healthcare system by virtue of a new, guaranteed (giant) payment mechanism. 

That new payment mechanism is government-mandated and taxpayer funded, healthcare reform -- which of course is not reform at all -- unless you frame the debate to look that way.