Monday, December 5, 2011


I think that this is correct:

Less honest single-payer advocates ignore the issue entirely. More honest and thoughtful single-payer advocates sometimes address it by talking about central planning, global budgets, and transition away from any fee-for-service care. They also talk about moving to an all-non-profit-facility delivery system. And if you think single-payer is unpopular now, wait until people start hearing about those things.

I get why many on the right are uncomfortable with this. There are days I am, too. But I’ll concede one point: if Medicare is so awesome for people age 65 and up, why is it socialism for someone who’s 64?

I, of course, like the plan of going for central planning, global budgets with competitions between treatments based on QALY's, reducing or eliminating fee for service, and see all non-profits in medicine as a great idea. It would do wonders for efficiency and make medical care widely available. It would also do very bad things to people currently invested in health care.

Trying to find a way to compromise on this front is a hard issue. Unlike Dr. Carroll, I think a discussion of end state is important even if it is not a politically feasible option (as it is good to have the end state out and in the public debate). We could lose the debate, but better to lose a debate (this is a democracy and not all policy ideas are going to be implemented) than to try (or appear to try) to sneak an long term agenda in under the radar.

That way there can be an evidence based debate on the issues. So I think that this is a good focus point for those of us thinking single payer -- we need to really lay our cards on the table and explain the totality of why we think that it would be an objective improvement. That way we present a hypothesis against which evidence can be applied and political will gauged.

No comments:

Post a Comment