Sunday, October 14, 2007

Moving in the Right Direction

I like to read the health care plans of presidential candidates – not so much because I think anything in particular will come from them, but because I assume they represent the candidates’ best guesses on what the people want to hear, which, in turn, gives some indication of how ready people are for real reform.

The October 12, 2007 Omaha World Herald carried an Associated Press article reporting on the health care plan of candidate John McCain.

Here are the statements I found interesting, with my comments interspersed:

- “The solution….resides….with well-informed American families making practical decisions to address their imperatives for better health….”

An implied opposition to national solutions.

- “His proposal emphasizes payment only for quality medical care.”

A recognition that a significant amount of care is not of good quality and that something ought to be done about it.

- “….he challenges doctors to do a better job of managing care.”

A recognition that care is not well managed now and that something ought to be done about that, too. But doctors can only do it only as agents of institutions. People are not quite ready for that yet.

- “….Americans must work to protect their own health and the health of their children, doing ‘everything we can to prevent expensive, chronic disease’.”

A platitude that seems to reflect the persistent myth that prevention saves money. Prevention is a good thing because it is better to be healthy than sick, but it increases costs in the end by keeping people alive longer.

- “His plan calls for….supporting different methods of delivering care, including walk-in clinics in retail outlets….”

An indication that people think you can get adequate care from sources other than established health care providers.

I gather from all this that while people are not quite ready yet for real reform, they are moving in that direction.

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