On Vox, the vivacious new topical news site, staffed in part by former writers at the Washington Post Wonk Blog, Sarah Kliff writes how Donald Berwick, MD, the recent former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Founder of the prestigious Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has concluded that a single payer health system would answer many of the US’ health care woes. Dr. Berwick is running for Governor of Massachusetts and this is an important plank of his platform. Of course, it is easy to show that single payer systems in other developed nations provide comparable or better quality care at about half the cost that we do in the US.
All else being equal, I might be inclined to agree with Dr. Berwick’s assessment. But the US is special in two ways that make a single payer system unlikely to produce anything but even higher health care costs than we already have.
Continue reading “Would A Single Payer System Be Good For America?”
First published 6/23/11 on Kaiser Health News
McKinsey and Company has finally released the details of its controversial paper on the likely effects of health care reform. And it looks like the paper’s critics (including yours truly) were right to raise questions about it. Based on what the company has said, the paper offers no new reason to think Americans with employer-sponsored insurance will lose that coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.
Politically, that’s good news for President Barack Obama, since he told insured Americans that the law wouldn’t take away the coverage they already had. But what does it mean in terms of policy? Should we be happy that health care reform is unlikely to reduce substantially the current system’s dependence on employer-based insurance? That’s another, much more complicated question.
Continue reading “About That McKinsey Report…The Critics Were Right”
First published 6/07/11 on Health Policy and Marketplace Review
I call your attention to Ezra Klein’s column in the Washington Post this morning.
In it he cites data that has been out there for a long time but Ezra puts some perspective on it that never occurred to me before.
Examining the Kaiser Family Foundation brief, “Health Care Spending in the United States and Selected OECD Countries” he points out, “Our government spends more [as a percentage of GDP] on health care than the governments of Japan, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Canada, or Switzerland.”
The data would seem to indicate that even our single payer government-run American health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, cost way more than similar health plans in these nations.
Continue reading “Neither Dems Nor Reps Care Proposals Are Supported By Past Performance”
First published 5/15/11 on Health Care Reform Update
In just a few days, Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin will sign into law what the media is calling “single payer health care reform.” But is it?
Vermont has certainly demonstrated more enthusiasm for a single payer approach than any other state. The Governor and key Democratic legislators have supported the concept, the state has a well-organized lobbying group in Vermont for Single Payer, and a state-funded study earlier this year estimated that a single payer approach could dramatically reduce health care costs. The major result has been passage in the past month by both of the state’s legislative chambers of the bill that Governor Shumlin indicates that he will sign.
Continue reading “Single Payer in Vermont? Well, Not Exactly.”