Monday, May 11, 2009

Health Care Stakeholders In Favor of Doing Something

I'm with Ezra and Kevin Drum on today's Big Health Care Announcement. To my eye, all that appears to have happened is that a lot of people have gotten together and agreed that health care costs should be lower. But no one has developed any specifics. There are noises that the specifics will come later, but will stakeholders prove capable of thinking about their cost control initiative and the Obama-Baucus-Grassley bill at the same time? Or will the latter consume all the resources devoted to the former? In addition, the fact that almost everyone is a party to the BHCA means that no one is left out in the cold. So you won't have a situation where, for example, insurers, unions, and doctors line up to make sure the cost-cutting comes out of the hides of drug companies, equipment manufacturers, and hospitals. Or insurers and GPs forcing a cramdown in revenues for specialists. Or whatever. Instead we're getting a "consensus proposals to reduce the rate of increase in future health and insurance costs through changes made in all sectors of the health care system". That sounds to me like a recipe for something long on pontificating whitepapers and short on action items that will produce significant savings.

(Photo courtesy of the totally awesome White House Flickr feed. Note that if the White House were interested in getting their photos in front of more eyeballs, they'd use Facebook)

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