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Physicians Need To Lead Cost Control Efforts In Health Reform

Boy if that statement doesn’t hit the nail on the head.

Talking to Cortese this week, I heard two themes that cut to the heart of the debate. First, he thinks Obama has made a mistake in moving toward the narrower goal of “health insurance reform” when what the country truly needs is health system reform. Imposing a mandate for universal insurance will only make things worse if we don’t change the process so that it becomes more efficient and less costly. The system we have is gradually bankrupting the country; expanding that system without changing the internal dynamics is folly.

Let me give you the truth of our current reality. We as a nation are headed for a devastating bankruptcy at the hands of our current health insurance model. A model that pays for everything (of substance) and passes on those costs to current and future generations.

Obama’s push for health insurance reform will do nothing to save America’s model that pays for everything (of substance) and passes on those costs to current and future generations.

The argument, as I see it, is not that a lack of insurance is bankrupting our country, but rather the model of insurance itself. Getting more of the same won’t make health care less expensive, it will make it more expensive. And ultimately, if we keep paying for things the way we pay for things now, there won’t be any money left for anyone.

Some people argue that spending money now with universal access will create a healthier and cheaper to insure America. To that, all I have to say is look to the history of the last 50 years. Medicare did not make health care cheaper. It has, for the last 50 years lead to a devastating economic death spiral. FREE=MORE is bankrupting our country. The model of insurance is bankrupting our country. The storm on the horizon will be the death of America, unless something changes, and soon.

I think the whole current nonsense debate is a travesty both from the Republicans and the Democrats. Opponents and proponents are both focusing on the wrong issues at hand. The issue is cost. If you can’t control costs, nothing else matters.

Doctors every where should embrace a system of delivery that encourages value and quality. The ones that will fight you tooth and nail are the ones that are ripping off America with their pretend care. The bad ones will suffer as will.

The physicians most expensive procedure is the pen. If doctors can’t lead the way toward cost effective care, then they should get out of the way while others do. Because if we as physicians don’t do something, we will have spent all the Treasury’s money for all future generations. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Thanks again to Are You A Doctor for pointing me to this article.

*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*

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