Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Casey Stengel, Marv Thornberry, and the Radical "Re-Envisioning of the "Fouled Up" U.S. Health System
Casey to Thornbery , after trying to show Marv how to catch a fly ball and dropping it himself :   “You’ve got this position so fouled up, nobody can play it.”
Casey to Thornberry , on why the New York Mets did not buy him  a birthday cake, “We were going to get you a birthday cake, but we figured you would drop it.”
Casey Stengel (1890-1975), manager of both Yankees and Mets, who was known as the  “The Old Perfessor”
Marv Thornberry (1933-1995),  major league baseball player, best known as first baseman for 1962 Mets, who set a record for most losses in a season, 120.
When I think of the U.S. health system,  Casey Stengel and Marv Thornberry spring to mind – Casey because he had  answers for everything and Marv because of his reputation for incompetence.
Progressives  think cost controls, universal coverage, and protecting the poor are the answers for everything,  and markets will not solve anything.  Conservatives  believe competitive market forces,  health savings accounts with high deductibles, and informed consumer paying out of pocket for routine care,  with catastrophic lids for expensive care,  will solve most problems without government intervention. 
Neither side is completely right or wrong.  Each egards the other as either incompetent or as  incapable of understand each others’ world.
Now a leader of  The American Enterprise Institute, Darius Lakdawallen, tells us we can have the best of both worlds.  Lakdwallen gathered together health experts from Stanford, the Harvard School of Government, and the American Enterprise Institute  to conduct a study to find the best answers ,independent of Obamacare, which many of these experts regarded  as a distraction and not a solution.
I am unable to find a copy of the study and its recommendations, but according to Kaiser Health News,  here are the main recommendations (I see no mention of reforming Medicare).

·         Allow insurers to charge on the basis of costs.

·         Have a basic health plan for all at no costs for routine care.

·         Let consumers pay more if they want care beyond the basics.

·         End health care tax exemptions for employers.

·         Keep online marketplace health exchanges.

·         Have generous subsidies to help the poor up to a level of 600% of poverty.

·         Scrap employer and individual mandates and Medicaid.

At present, I don’t think these proposals for re-envisioning the health system will get much play because of the furor over Obamacare.  And we need to see the details.  Whether the "Perfessors" can reinvent and turn around the "fouled-up " U.S. health system is  doubtful.. But there are some of  us who believe, with American ingenuity and resilence, the system can be changed for the better incorporating ideas from both sides of the political aisle..
Tweet:  The American Enterprise Institute has put forth  a re-envision of the  health system incorporating both progressive and conservative values.

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