05 April 2009

Fixing Health Care in the U.S. is not the sole province of Democrats

We expect elected U.S. Senators and Representatives to be our eyes and ears tackling the often thorny issues that are best solved with a national perspective. We don't want state legislatures to spend time re-inventing the wheel on problems confronting us all - what to do on behalf of military veterans, or the mortgage foreclosure crisis, for instance, are challenges for the national government.

It's easy to blame that government for being slow to solve problems: the bodies that craft the laws are deliberative by nature, the departments they oversee are engaged in large undertakings - getting the government to change course or take up new challenges is not trivial. The perception that government isn't quick to solve problems has led to calls for privatization of various functions over the years - retirement accounts, for instance. The far-reaching effects of deregulating our financial institutions and the credit-default swap game have shown us the downside of privatizing.

Partisan posturing placates lobbyists, postpones problem-solving.

Rising cost of health carePutting health care administration into the hands of the insurance industry has arguably had similarly disastrous results. We spend more per capita than other nations, yet their innovations have thus far led only to higher costs that keep rising faster than inflation, faltering quality,and red-tape, with non-medical personnel making decisions about treatments and medications.

We've given the responsibility to big insurance companies because we expected creative, cost-effective solutions that improved the delivery of health care services; that's the strength big business brings to any challenge, right? That's why they earn the big salaries and lavish bonuses. Yet the insurance industry hasn't helped get health care right. The costs are out of control, and with millions of Americans - from children through the elderly - uninsured, their system is plainly failing.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus"In 2009, Congress must take up and act on meaningful health reform legislation that achieves coverage for every American while also addressing the underlying problems in our health system. The urgency of this task has become undeniable."
~Senator Max Baucus, (D-MT)
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
12 November 2008
When the Senate Finance Committee gets involved it's because the repercussions of the current mess are dangerous for the entire U.S. economy. One innovative solution with bi-partisan Finance Committee support is The GREEN HOUSE® Replication Initiative. The concept of Green House® homes is residences for 6 to 10 elders who require skilled nursing care and want to live a rich life. We're talking about significant departure from traditional skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities, organized to foster community and services by enhancing both autonomy and support. Creating places for senior citizens to enjoy calling home without the necessary assistance and care becoming the focus of life seems an obvious idea, doesn't it?

more than bottom line numbers

Insurance actuaries and CEOs know the number of elderly Americans is on the rise, and that their health care is costly - but the solutions haven't been coming from their industry. This particular solution is coming from NCB Capital Impact (the nonprofit affiliate of NCB) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We need to re-define success. Big business is ignoring the problem, looking instead to their separate bottom lines, while non-profit organizations are bringing real innovation and proactive thinking to bear. We need insurance profiteers out of the health care industry - now.

Note: THE GREEN HOUSE® is a registered trademark. Only projects with an executed sub-license agreement may use the "Green House" term, or a confusingly similar term, in association with a long-term care facility.

1 comment:

Tom Hayes, the Synergist said...

It's been pointed out to me that Senator Baucus is, in fact, against single-payer systems, and might work very hard to keep that concept out of any bill that passes the Senate.

So, I cite his rhetoric on the urgency of addressing the matter, but don't necessarily agree with his means. Does that make me a Democrat?