Thursday, February 26, 2009

Budget and Health Care

Disclaimer: I think we should talk more about this stuff in school!!! But instead we argue about Peruvian employment and compute multiple regressions!

It is a quick read:

OK.... call me a nerd, but we are in public policy school. I know that health care is a very personal and dividing issue and I often come down right in the middle, about expanding coverage to all, but limiting a centralized health care system. I spend a lot of time reviewing all sorts of health care systems in Europe, Asia, etc and this article does a good job at describing some of the risks associated with centralized health care. I am sending this out because Obama just announced the creation of a Health Fun and will begin to propose health reforms.

Don't get me wrong Health Reform is needed and we need expanded coverage, but one of the sticky areas (where you may see a lot of coverage) is in the Comparative Effectiveness world. Some people call comparative effectiveness, cost effectiveness because the goal is to have the government compare treatments and in some cases a cheaper treatment is just as good as an expensive treatment. I call it comparative effectiveness not cost effectiveness because if we use cost effectiveness we're comparing the entire treatment, not just one portion. For example, if I have a heart attach, I could take a drug that costs say $.50 or I cold take a drug that costs $50. However, if I take the $.50 drug, I may need to be in the hospital 5 extra days at a cost of $10,000 but with the $50 drug I can go home. If you're just comparing drugs, then obviously the $.50 is cheaper, but if you're comparing treatment plans, then using the $.50 isn't necessarily cheaper.

So as you read about health care reform, pay attention to this issue, because I know that it will be increasingly more important as we expand care to those who need it. Don't get me wrong, every person involved in health care needs to pitch in, but I just think that we need to be diligent about it as to not quell innovation. Who knows, maybe by the time we're old, we won't have to be scarred of Alzheimer's, heart attacks, AIDs, cancer, or breaking a hip (this is why I like innovation, I'm an optimist and think that the things that ail use today can be cured / managed in the future)

Enough heavy stuff for the Thursday...

No comments: