Health care is a critical issue for a bunch of very good reasons:
- the rising cost of health care is squeezing our personal, state and federal budgets. We are spending more and more but don’t seem to be getting the type of health care we want — more convenient, on my terms, with better health outcomes.
- as a rich society — our ability to provide an adequate social safety net is key to how we feel our society is doing — and access to health care is a crucial part of the social safety net — and yet many don’t have access to health insurance. Can’t we do better?
- health care is nearly 20% of our economy. unfortunately a ton of that spending is of little to no or negative value, which hurts our overall economic growth and competitiveness. other industries self correct through markets – but the health industry doesn’t.
- Democrats (price controls) and Republicans (accountability and market forces) have very different approaches and hence want to either talk or demagogue about it, depending on your perspective
- being able to solve both the access and the affordability part of the equation will improve our economic security — both for us as individual citizens and for the nation’s competitive position in the world marketplace.
Paul Ryan said in his convention speech last night that it was time to have a political discussion about the future of Medicare — and he is right on that. I hope we can have an informed discussion. Unfortunately — there are many basics folks need to understand in order to have an informed discussion.
I strongly encourage anyone who wants to have an opinion on what we should do to improve our health system — including Medicare — to read this short pamphlet co-authored by Denis Cortese — former CEO of Mayo Clinic and chairman of the IOM Roundtable on Value & Science Driven Healthcare — where I was a roundtable member. You can download it here, (go to bottom of page for download link). Title is Roadmap to High-Value Healthcare Delivery.
I don’t want to summarize it – take 20 minutes and read the whole thing — it really will help you be informed on this crucial political and economic topic. Improving Value (Value = Patient Outcomes / Total Cost) and aligning incentives to accomplish is the roadmap. Warning — there is some math and charts in this pamphlet — but don’t let this get in your way.