Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

$100 Billion instead of $1 Trillion

On Mon July 6 Hugh Hewitt interviewed Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University. I think he was the most liberal of the three guests he had on that day.

HH: ...We’re talking about extending Medicare to the population, right?
IR: Yes.
HH: The cost of that is staggering.
IR: I know, Hugh, but it’s not exactly cheap to have 47 million people not in the system, who when they get really sick and show up in an ER, they’re getting charged, it’s costing unbelievable amounts of money for things that maybe could have been prevented in the first place.
HH: But you know it’ll happen. If we go Medicare for everyone, the government’s going to put the squeeze on reimbursements, doctors are going to begin to dump patients, and they’re going to begin to do, they’re going to have boutique and concierge practices, and the elite will be taken care of, the elite, and the rest will get in line.
IR: Yeah. Well, let me ask, this is what I would say to the people, let’s say, on the other side of the debate. What is the alternative to this horrible mess we have now where the insurance company clerks are prohibiting me and people I know from getting the health care they need?
HH: $100 billion dollars a year for community clinics, so that poor people get served. $100 billion bucks a year. It’s one-tenth the cost of what the Obama administration is pushing, and it will deliver hundreds of times the actual care.
IR: And you know, I don’t disagree with that. So the question is, it is a politically feasible reality? And this is the point I was making to you before. I don’t care how we get there. But we have to figure out how we’re going to control the costs, prevent these unbelievable numbers of unnecessary procedures and interventions and surgeries, and make that people are getting good, quality, comprehensive care that they need, that’s preventive in its orientation. If we could figure that out, I don’t think I have a problem with that. But how are you going to get $100 billion dollar a year program passed?
HH: Because the Republicans will spend that rather than the trillion that the government plan will spend.
$100 Billion instead of $1 Trillion. That is one tenth of the cost! The current reform being written is way too costly partly because it will drive competition out of the business. Then the only way to control costs is to ration our health care.
Listen to or read the complete interview.

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