UPDATE #3: There is a lot more now coming out about the health insurance market and the role of a “public option.” Here is a lengthy discussion
UPDATE #2: More stories of Veterans Adminstration nightmares to liven up the debate. Also this sort of thing won’t help.
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care.
In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.”
He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”
That should help a lot. There is a lot of truth to this and I support effectiveness research and outcomes research but who will be making these determinations ? Barney Frank ?
UPDATE: The Obama plan seems to be on life support, so to speak at this point. Too bad they couldn’t have an honest debate.
There is much discussion of the need for a “public option” to, as Robert Reich put it on This Week today, to keep the insurance companies “honest.” One model that has been used as an example of the success of federal programs has been the Veterans Administration. Many of my friends trained in VA hospitals and were not as favorably impressed. This article might be cause for more caution in touting the VA as a model.
Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years — and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.The team continued implants for a year even though the equipment that measured whether patients received the proper radiation dose was broken. The radiation safety committee at the Veterans Affairs hospital knew of this problem but took no action, records show.
What it has that is troubling is the benefit of self regulation, as is true of many federal programs, especially in medicine. The Navy a few years ago learned it had a heart surgeon who had been run out of every private hospital for incompetence but he found a home in the Navy. The result was five deaths in patients and a court martial.
Cokie Roberts, on the same program, asserted that Medicare is the most popular health plan in the country, however she did not address the fact that it will soon be bankrupt. The fact remains that health reform has to include a free market method to control over use or the regulations will drown doctors and hospitals in red tape. Already, Medicare is seeing physicians dropping out of the program because of bureaucracy and poor reimbursement. Soon the Obama people will make things far, far worse.
I’m glad I’m retired.
By the way, it is now coming out why Michelle Obama got that high paid job at U of Chicago Hospital.
The boy in the news – Dontae Adams – is a Medicaid patient who the hospital treated with painkillers and a tetanus shot but then refused to admit him for surgery. His mother took him on an hour-long bus ride to another hospital that admitted him and performed the face-saving surgery.Dr. Jouriles took issue with a statement made by medical center spokesperson John Easton that “sending Dontae into surgery too quickly would have created a risk for infection.”
“As a physician who has treated hundreds of animal injuries, I know of no reason why early surgical intervention would increase infection risk,” said Dr. Jouriles.
In addition, Dr. Jouriles took issue with statements made by the hospital that the Urban Health Initiative is helping patients with non-urgent care find medical homes and that the issue was about patients with non-urgent medical conditions.
Guess who organized the Urban Health Initiative ? Answer ?
Michelle Obama. No wonder she was worth so much money to the U of Chicago.
A few years ago, executives at the prestigious University of Chicago Medical Center were concerned that an increasing number of patients were arriving at their emergency room with what the executives considered to be non-urgent complaints. The visits were costly to the hospital, and many of the patients, coming from the surrounding South Side neighborhood, were poor and uninsured.
So, Michelle came up with a solution to the uninsured, just like her husband.
Michelle Obama, an executive at the medical center, launched an innovative program to steer the patients to existing neighborhood clinics to deal with their health needs.That effort, in time, inspired a broader program the hospital now calls its Urban Health Initiative. To ensure community support, Michelle Obama and others in late 2006 recommended that the hospital hire the firm of David Axelrod, who a few months later became the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
So, now we see what The One has in mind for us. They call it “dumping.”
H/t Michelle Malkin.