Monday, June 29, 2009

Between Fred Thompson and the American Enterprise Intstitute

Reporting this morning for the private health insurance lobby, NPR's Julie Rovner gets very, very basic:
"The health care cost debate pretty much comes down to this: 'You can't cut costs without hurting someone.'"
How's that for analysis. And to back it up we get a little Meet the Press sound-bite from Fred Thompson (yes him): "The only way to really save cost is to have rationing or it can be done by a cram down by the government and take it out of the hides of doctors hospitals."

Rovner's report mainly serves to highlight and promote the research of Elliott Fisher of the Dartmouth Institute. The big deal is that Fisher has found that some areas in the US with lower cost prices for health care have better outcomes. Funny thing is that on June 11, 2009 NPR featured this exact research. An interesting thing not mentioned on NPR is the chief "partners" of the Dartmouth Institute. On the list are
I do smell a conflict of interest, eh?

Rovner fills out the report by going to a solid centrist - Len Nichols (no single payer, he) - of the New America Foundation (as far left as NPR dare venture) , and then the wrap up is provided by Joe Antos of the far right AEI who concludes that real change to health care is a cultural/behavioral issue more than a cost issue.


geoff said...

You must have heard the report after it was shortened (purely to meet broadcasting practicalities) by eliminating the PNHP spokesperson's comment:

Single payer reform [..] would eliminate the bewildering patchwork of private insurance plans with their exorbitant overhead and profits, as well as the costly paperwork burdens they impose on providers. These savings on bureaucracy - nearly $400 billion annually – are sufficient to cover all of the uninsured and to provide first dollar coverage for all Americans.

As for Fred, I'd rather hear from Prof. Ned Brainard.

cjackb said...

I don't get it. Rovner says you can't lower costs without hurting someone. I'm assuming she refers either to doctors and hospitals or to patients because care might be rationed? But you summarize the Fischer report as showing that regions in the U.S. have lowered costs without hurting people or the industry at large. Am I correct?

geoff said...

The Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare is funded by Bluecross and Aetna and seems to be designed to show that the fat is in the doctors and hospitals, not in the salaries of middle management and profits of Health Insurance companies, profits that rely on denying care. Did anyone say Big Pharma?

Cetamua said...

It's at the point we'll need a foreign econ health care shop to get a more or less exact picture of what kinds of costs saving different reforms options would bring.

The domestic ones have too many conflicts of interest.


Anonymous said...

You can't cut costs without hurting someone.'"

Actually, that's true.

But those opposing a public option are disingenuous about the real reason for their opposition.

They use scare tactics: eg, "there will be long waits for procedures like heart surgery and the like" when the ones cost cutting will actually hurt most are health insurance companies.

Obama (or his water boy Baucus) took single payer "off the table" before it ever received a hearing.

Now he is using the "public option as a bargaining chip to get a "bipartisan" bill (translation: a handful of republican votes, if that).

Obama is willing to throw the bay out and keep the bathwater as long as he can claim his bill had Republican support.

Unknown said...

That's right - you can't cut costs without hurting someone...

Namely, the deep pockets of the insurance industry and their legion of lobbyists... and therefore members of Congress...

Can healtcare reform ever not be a matter of the foxes regulating the henhouse?

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

NPR has become a center-right think tank. And, I am using the word "think" very loosely here.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Nate Silver of breaks it down here.

Unlike National Pathetic Redundancy, Nate Silver (a mere blogger) collects data, not opinions.

Anonymous said...

Can healtcare reform ever not be a matter of the foxes regulating the henhouse?

I think the REAL problem in this case is that we have hen's (like Nancy Pelosi) watching the Fox house (ie, Obama, Pelois and others are FAR too concerned with what the Republicans think. If they were even half the "leaders" they pretend to be, they would be able to pass REAL health care: single payer.

Real leaders like FDR do not worry about what the opposition thinks. They just do it -- and people follow their cue.

NPR has become a center-right think tank. And, I am using the word "think" very loosely here.

Not sure about the "think" part, but NPR has "tanked", that is for certain. It's flagship "news" program (ATC) is swirling in the toilet.

larry, dfh said...

Google maps, Hartford, CT, coordinates 41.766959,-72.69089, gives the Aetna headquarters. Just some little mom and pop insurance company.

geoff said...

larry, dfh -

I'm a sucker for maps. So it's that complex north of I84 and south of Pharmington? Nice proximity to the State Capitol.