Last week, Shakespeare’s axiom about brevity being the soul of wit was once again proven correct. In the Bard’s idiom, the word “wit” meant “sagacity,” and that quality is plentiful in GruntDoc’s six-word post on health care reform: 

Price, Quality, Access ……………….. Pick any two.

That pretty much sums up the central dilemma of health care reform. No matter how much BS is promulgated by the single-payer crowd, no matter how many promises are made by disingenuous politicians, we aren’t going to get all three in any health care system.

The latest confirmation of that reality comes from Mitt Romney’s Massachussetts boondoogle. Because that program is designed to provide nearly universal access, and envisions no reduction in quality of care, its cost is going through the roof:

State officials have estimated that the cost could run as high as $619 million for the current fiscal year, $147 million over budget.

As GruntDoc so eloquently points out, health care reform requires difficult choices. Unfortunately, the apparatchiks of the “Insurance Connector Authority” have no intention of facing this fact:

The board did not consider any reductions in the comprehensive range of services covered by the plan.

Instead of facing the tough choices, they are falling back on that tried-and-true staple of government-run health care … price controls:

The [Connector Authority] will direct the four insurers that administer Commonwealth Care to cut payments to healthcare providers by 3 to 5 percent.

This will constrict access because many providers will stop seeing patients covered by the plan. And, if the state attempts to coerce them, the providers will simply leave the state (lots of docs in my region have New England accents).

The Massachussetts bureaucrats, like all advocates of “universal coverage,” don’t have the wit to face their real-world choices. 

Comments 1

  1. R. Garth Kirkwood MD wrote:

    Governor Romney’s Massachusetts health plan was destined to failure from the start, because the legislation was crafted by politicians in conjunction with health insurance executives and other health care business people. They treat health care as a business, which means their main interest is with their own ongoing profit margins and not with actual health care, i.e., sound, ongoing doctor—patient relationships. To satisfy their main interest, they continue with the roadblocks to actual health care: increasing premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance, lessening of services covered, and other ploys to enhance their bottom line, such as reduction of payment to providers.

    Price control, quality, and equal access for everyone can all be achieved through a properly functioning single payer coupled with a change of attitude in America. However, the courage of the politicians to actually attempt this has been sadly lacking. I wonder why?

    “Government-run health care” is a scare phrase, the same as the words, “socialized medicine.” Health care is run by the doctor—patient relationship.

    R. Garth Kirkwood MD

    Posted 18 Dec 2007 at 4:32 pm

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