Beyond Health Care Debate to Viable Reform

James Smith, left, waits at the Wise County Fairgrounds to access a health clinic that offers free medical, dental, and vision care on a first-come, first-served basis, so lines start early and get long quickly. By Michael Williamson (Washington Post)
James Smith, left, waits at the Wise County Fairgrounds (VA) to access a health clinic that offers free medical, dental, and vision care on a first-come, first-served basis, so lines start early and get long quickly. By Michael Williamson (Washington Post)

Below is a good article, A Leading Health Researcher Looks Beyond the Reform Debate, on health care reform options beyond the hype. It’s out of the RAND Corporation – which has used its excellent researcher skills for ill (e.g. how to more effectively kill North Vietnamese and the most efficient way to nuke Soviets), rather than good at times.

But much of RAND’s current research provides balanced look at economic realities and long-term viability. RAND is going to err on the side of what’s good for business rather than care for “the least of these,” but it’s important to have as much information as possible as we wade through the issues.

I’d also recommend checking the RAND Compare Web site and and their hot health care legislation issues Web site for more on sorting through the health care debate.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Meet Elizabeth McGlynn.  Associate director of RAND Health and one of the top 100 U.S. health care “innovators,” according to healthspottr.com, McGlynn is also codirector of the Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE) initiative, which includes an online tool, developed at RAND, to help policymakers, the press, and others understand, evaluate, and design proposals for health care reform, not just for the current legislative session but also over the long term.

“Much of the information being provided in the health care debate comes from individuals or organizations that are advocates or opponents of particular ideas for fixing the health care system,” said McGlynn. In contrast, the COMPARE initiative offers “objective analysis from a neutral third party about the likely effects of policy choices on cost, quality, and access at the national level and for different stakeholders.”

She explained that the health care debate in Washington today revolves around two of the key pressing issues: expanding health insurance coverage and decreasing health care costs. “There is a philosophical debate about how best to fix the system,” said McGlynn. “Some people believe we should get everyone covered and that this will make it easier to control costs. Others believe that until we figure out how to reduce health care spending, we should not bring anyone new into the system.” McGlynn went on to observe that both issues, coverage and cost, would have to be addressed simultaneously.

Another key issue – health care quality – has received less attention in the current health reform discussion than have coverage and cost. Numerous RAND studies have shown that the United States faces a substantial gap between what is known to work in health care and what is actually provided. For example, McGlynn and colleagues have shown that American adults receive just half of recommended care for the leading causes of death and disability and that American children receive less than half of necessary care.

Read more here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.