Monday, October 29, 2007

Published Letter

AARP has a health care reform initiative going under the title “Divided We Fail.” It’s president, Erik Olsen, has a news column out about it, which was published in the October 26 issue of the Omaha World Herald. It prompted a letter to the editor from me, which appeared in today’s paper. The letter reads as follows:

AARP President Erik Olsen‘s column about that organization’s health care reform initiative (Oct. 26 Midlands Voices) did a good job of describing the problem but came up short on solutions.

Being a membership organization, AARP is understandably reluctant to tell its people things they don’t want to hear. Were that not the case, Olsen might have explained that our current system of providing health care services is outmoded, unsustainable and in need of redesign.

The changes needed include some limitation of choice of physician, some restrictions on what doctors and patients can decide about diagnosis and treatment, and holding hospital trustees and executives accountable for how physicians practice medicine.

There will be objection to those changes. But once AARP and organizations like it are able to accept them, efforts can focus on how to undertake reform in the most beneficial and least disruptive ways rather than on waving flags of alarm and hoping somebody else will take the heat.

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