Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Notable Quotes Relating to Health Reform

Abby Goodnough and Kevin Sack, “Massachusetts Tries to Rein in Its Health Costs, “ NYT, October 18, 2011

We have shown the nation how to extend care to everybody,” Governor Patrick said in an interview, “and we’ll be the place to crack the code on costs.”

Those who led the 2006 effort to expand coverage readily acknowledge that they deferred the more daunting task of cost control for another day. It was assumed then that the politics would pit doctors, hospitals, insurers, employers and consumers against one another, and obliterate the fragile coalition behind the groundbreaking coverage law.

The plan did little to slow the growth of health costs that already were among the highest in the nation. A state report last year found that per capita health spending in Massachusetts was 15 percent above the national average. And from 2007 to 2009, private health insurance premiums rose between 5 and 10 percent annually, according
to another state study.

Comment: Covering the uninsured, now down to 1% to 2% in Massachusetts, costs money and increases deficit spending. Obamacare, fashioned after the Massachusetts plan, is likely to have the same result.

Lisa G. Suter, MD,et al, “Medical Device Innovation- Is “Better Good Enough,” NEJM, October 20, 2011

Last year, the United States spent $95 billion , nearly half of the $200 billion spend on devices worldwide. Our investment in devices has yielded impressive gains in length and quality of life from products such as implantable cardioverter-debrillators, pacemakers, and artificial joints(cardiovascular and orthopedic devices accounts form more than 35% of the market). Roughly 10 million Americans have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis..More than 600,000 total knee arthroplasty procedures are performed annually in the United States; 85% report functional improvement.

Comment: Americans have an insatiable appetite for implantable devices that improve function and relieve pain, and health reform measures that either ration procedures or slow access to them will be politically unpopular.

Tweet: With health reform, Americans can't have their cake (universal coverage) and eat it too (unlimited quick access to high tech care)

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