Dem healthcare reform fails to bend the curve

November 10, 2009

If you care about bending the curve of long-term healthcare costs – downward, I should emphasize – then it is tough not to conclude that Democratic efforts at healthcare reform are a failure. The essential money-sucking structure of US healthcare would remain intact. As the NYTimes finally figures out:

Experts β€” including some who have consulted closely with the White House, like Dr. Denis A. Cortese, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic β€” say the measures take only baby steps toward revamping the current fee-for-service system, which drives up costs by paying health providers for each visit or procedure performed. …

Among other innovations being considered is a cost-cutting method known as bundling, in which health providers receive a lump sum to care for a patient with a particular medical condition, say, diabetes or heart disease. The House bill calls for the administration to develop a plan for bundling, while the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill gives it until 2013 to create a pilot program.

Some experts would like to see such changes adopted more quickly, and senators of both parties say they will press for more aggressive cost-cutting measures when the bill comes up for debate. But drastic changes in the health care reimbursement system could cost the White House the support of doctors and hospital groups, who have signed onto the legislation and are lobbying hard to keep the current fee-for-service system from being phased out too quickly.

Experts agree that the Senate Finance bill does more to put systemic changes in place. That is because the bill includes two measures that health economists favor: a tax on high-value β€œCadillac” health plans, and an independent commission that would make binding recommendations on how to cut Medicare costs.

Dr. Cortese, of the Mayo Clinic, said the bills could do more to reward quality care over quantity. He said he had met with Mr. Orszag and others at the White House and had proposed legislative language that would give Medicare three years to begin rewarding hospitals that are delivering better care at lower cost.

3 comments

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Nice to see that some people are actually able to stand up and point out the failures of this bill. There is no doubt in my mind that this will cause health care cost to rise at a faster level than they are today. This must be stoped, tell your senators vote no on bankrupting america.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

If one of these bills is eventually passed, Democrats know that people may fear rationing and one way around that is for them to be very generous with coverage.

I think a lot of Democrats in Congress agree with Ed Schultz, when he said that he wanted universal health care and he didn’t care how much it cost.

maybe, but if it turns out anything like this public model then we are in very very good shape. http://cli.gs/23yYaM/

Posted by Stephanie Hunter | Report as abusive