So this week’s question from the Washington Post RX Blog was:
Recent polls show declining support for President Obama's handling of the health-care issue. What should he do to get the effort back on track?
My response is below.
Today's debate is mired in details about the wrong topics, chiefly public insurance options and the best government bureaucracy to determine what gets reimbursed. To drive the unprecedented reform vital to our country's future, we must up-level the conversation and focus on real reform: analyzing the system holistically and figuring out how health care can be delivered in better ways to improve outcomes and value. The challenge is how to leverage market-based solutions while dealing with the unique properties of health, such as the moral imperative to provide for the under-privileged.
Much of the justification driving reform has been economic, yet the debate has been politically focused, obfuscating the economic issues rather than illuminating them. The result? A missed opportunity to educate citizens on the fundamental issues and frame a public conversation about the choices that will bring change.
To refocus, we should acknowledge three simple truths:
There are pointers in the right direction -- the Healthy Americans Act provides solid thinking about improving outcomes by focusing on prevention, wellness and disease management, and tying accountability and incentives appropriately. In the words of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) -- "passing a reform bill that doesn't really reform the health care system is just about as wrong as not passing any bill at all."
<p>Okay. I'm re-focused. Now what?</p>
<p>HealthVault is certainly an innovation that enables reform. For the radical innovation that HealthVault provides, we are indebted to Microsoft--and to you Peter for your commitment to improving health care and explaining HealthVault to the old guard. Thank you. </p>
<p>It sounds like a next step is to convince Congress to allow new participants, solutions, business models, and types of health care delivery. What else can we do?</p>
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