Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Sensible Health Reform Solution

Every once in a while, which is to say rarely, I run across a sensible health care solution. Jeff Goldsmith, founder of Health Futures, a consulting firm in Charlottsville, Virginia, offers one in “Capitol Shortage: Can the Two Democratic Parties Get It Together on Health Reform?”, a blog in The Health Care Blog, one of the most widely read health blogs.

Goldsmith’s premise is: there are two Democratic parties – “The ‘Safe-Seat Democrats’ – The Pacific HeightS/Beverly Hill/Upper West Side/Harlem Democrats – and the ‘Running Scared Democrats’ – from the western, southern, and border states, who actually require independent and moderate Republican votes to get elected.”
The Goldsmith solution? How does President Obama and the Democrats salvage health reform?

Among other things,

• Cover at many uninsured as possible at $60 to $80 a month with innovative insurance policies and by doing away with community ratings, i.e., the same rating for the young and the old, the healthy and the sick.

• Ditch the public option, which will impose Medicare rates on everyone and drive doctors out of the system.

• Expand funding for community health centers, which already exist and are cost-effective.

• Stop listening to the “safe-seaters,” who are proposing a government takeover and bureaucrat-directed care.

• Finance low-income people by actively enrolling them in existing programs and financing them with taxes on soft drinks and alcohol.

• Address the primary care shortage by doubling Medicare rates for office visits, and for evaluation and management.

• Knock some sense into the “Safe-seat Democrats” so Obama can sign a sensible bill this year.

Otherwise, the Democratic Party will get a “richly deserved black eye.”


Nathan Reagan said...

The idea of an alcohol and soda tax is intriguing. Have you seen any estimates on how much money this could potential raise?

Richard L. Reece, MD said...


Sorry but I have no concrete estimates of who much money extra taxes on alcohol and sugar-containing soft- drinks would raise.