Things that are good: There's just amazing ferment in health care policy these days, hard to keep track:
- Chris Dodd says there will be a health bill in a few days from the HELP committee — with a public option. Yow!
- Ted Kennedy fights against cancer — and for the public plan! Rah Rah! (Sabutai noted this a few days ago.)
- Obama's all over it — strong on the public plan and tying reform to cost control! YES WE CAN!
- Health care advocates pour in $82 million in ads! Take that, Harry and Louise!
- Bob Kuttner vs. the insurance industry — yay! (But apparently doesn't know what single-payer is. Boooo.)
- Massachusetts is still taking the lead in reorganizing care away from quantity towards quality! Boo-ya! (Well, a possible, qualified, maybe boo-ya.)
The Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System is proposing to reorganize the way more than $55 billion is spent on health care in this state every year.
… The network or organization would get one annual payment for each patient, based on age or other factors, no matter how many services you use. If you stay healthy or your doctor helps you stay healthy, the organization does well. If you don’t, the providers could lose money. The commission says there would be incentives so that doctors would not limit necessary care or reject the sickest patients.
- OK, not so good news: People go bankrupt from health care bills, even if they have insurance. It should be noted that the author of this report, Steffie Woolhandler, is a major player in the single-payer movement. Given that movement's predilections against “incrementalism”, one would assume she'd be opposed to any reform that entrenches the role of private insurers. That's the not-so-hidden subtext of this report.