The one good thing about the debate thus far has been my ability to procrastinate. Frankly, I’ve been happy that nothing definitive has passed either the House or the Senate. Not for any particular partisan or ideological reason, but simply because once it does, I, and a lot of attorneys I know, will have a lot of primary source reading to do. Summaries suffice until laws are passed and language must be parsed. That time may be about here with the vote yesterday on H.R. 3962.
Recently a client, who is also taking an MBA course, asked if I had any useful information about the health care reform debate. She wanted less highly technical materials; she wanted materials she could use to understand the debate and that were not completely uninteresting. I told her I had a few decent links of materials I’d read over the last six months or so. Some I’ve highlighted here.
- This American Life. In two programs, “More Is Less” and “Someone Else’s Money” they spend a couple hours, in TAL’s original ‘explain it through an anecdote’ kind of way, exploring factors influencing health care inflation and how our employer driven health insurance system evolved into what it is today. They did the programs with NPR News and specifically the Planet Money folks that helped with their amazing programs on the financial crisis — “The Great Pool of Money” and “Bad Bank.”
- How American Health Care Killed my Father, by David Goldhill (Atlantic, September 2009). A very readable and personalized discussion of distortions in the American healthcare system. Final argument is that health care insurance reform should look at forcing more financial obligations on patients and move toward catastrophic coverage. David Brooks mentioned this article in an op-ed piece he wrote.
- The Cost Conundrum, Atul Gawande (New Yorker, June 2009). I discuss the article here. This is important since it was very widely discussed and it’s themes regarding variations in health care spending (many arguing as necessary to fix to “bend the curve”), has gotten a lot of attention. I also noted a recent HHS-OIG settlement in McAllen; of interest due to my discussion.
- Lost in the Shuffle: The Overarching Goals of Healthcare Reform, Uwe Reinhardt (New York Times, September 2009). Professor Reinhardt suscinctly sets out the economic objectives of the current health care reform debate.
- Health Policy Brief – Public Health Insurance Plan, Health Affairs (Health Affairs, June 2009). Due to the inordinate attention to be or not to be over a public plan, I suggested this quick summary to her.
- Health Care Inflation Trends. Since one major component of health care reform is ‘bending the curve’, what of health care inflation? I pointed out one post from a blog I follow that succinctly summarizes Medicare, Medicaid projections. I also suggest a private analysis discussing health care spending inflation and the impact on reform concluding “given that the current path of GDP and consumption appears to be sustainable for only another decade, reform of the federal health care programs and a realignment of the health care sector will occur soon.”
- Side by Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals. I also suggested this interactive chart allowing you to compare various of the major health care reform proposals and analyze them side by side.
If I were giving to her today, I’d probably add:
- Some Vaguely Heretical Thoughts on Health-Care Reform, John Cassidy (New Yorker, Rational Irrationality Blog, November 2009). Discussion of H.B. 3962 and what it achieves and does not.