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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Another Plug for Single Payer

Dick Davidson, executive head of the American Hospital Association, has called to my attention a short, articulate, and pithy article titled A Plan for Universal Coverage that recently appeared in the on-line version of H&HN magazine. It was written by Neil Whipkey, administrator of Shands at Lake Shore Hospital in Lake City, Florida.

In brief, Whipkey’s plan is for national health insurance financed by a national sales tax. It includes a new method of paying physicians, patterned after the DRG (i.e., flat-sum-per-case) system used to pay hospitals.

The full article can be seen at the following address:

http://www.hhnmag.com/hhnmag/jsp/articledisplay.jsp?dcrpath=HHNMAG/PubsNewsArticle/data/050510HHN_Online_Whipkey&domain=HHNMAG

The three main issues in health care today are cost, quality, and coverage. Since expanding coverage would pump new money into the system, it seems to me unlikely to happen on any significant scale so long as the uninsured continue to receive basic care while the delivery system remains both grossly inefficient and financially stable.

Thus, I wish that when Whipkey and others advocate single payer, they would also address its connection with the cost issue.

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