Sunday, July 26, 2009

Baseless Blames and Bangless Bucks ... oh, and Healthcare

As Jeremy Clarkson snickers weekly, "Some say ..." this blog started as a diarrhea of personal opinion, but has recently drifted down to the gallows of quote regurgitation, spiced with the occasional snarky fart directed at whatever DC's up to at the moment.

'Nuff said. I'm glad we had this talk.
p.s. I love the bumper sticker!

"Some say ..." so many people flock to this blog, there has been a measurable drop in national productivity and employment since it's inception. Piffle. Orszag needs to find someone else to blame his "bangless bucks" predicament on.

And while I'm on the topic: Big ups to Obama on healthcare. By convincing everyone that he's really gonna do something, anything ... maybe even something a little nuts, ya never know ... he has finally scared people into a REAL conversation about what healthcare should be. Brilliant.

I agree with him: something DOES need to be done about health care. I'd even support his plan if it contained no new deficit spending, taxes, fees, surcharges, mandates, wealth redistribution or governmental committees. If he and Congress really want to be non-partisan, deficit-neutral, pro-growth, and generally pro-biotic, they should follow the recent kitch-cuisine trend and deconstruct their plan into its source components. Then, they should whip up a recipe including only those ingredients that meet the tests above.

- Acknowledge that we have problems and that the status quo is unacceptable? Check!
- Improve efficiency? Check!
- Make better use of technology? Check!
- Prevent diseases rather than treating them? Check!
- Use cheaper, generic drugs when they're just as effective as name-brands? Check!
- Allow pharmacies deliver bottles of Advil to hospital bedsides, rather than charging the patient $10 a pill? Check.
- Follow the SEC's lead and require (all but the smallest) healthcare providers to publish uniform, comparable statistics about the customer satisfaction, effectiveness, and cost? Cha-check!
- Give people the option of a low-cost, 24-hour clinic instead of the ER for garden-variety treatments? Check! In fact, authorize ERs to march their dumb untreated butts right out the door and across the street to the clinic.
- Share results of tests among healthcare providers, instead of re-running the same diagnostic multiple times? Double-check!

David Axelrod, himself, said this week there was universal agreement on 80% of their ideas. Sounds like enough for a plan to me. Let's pass it and start to get at least a little relief. Would we delay a heart bypass in the ER until everyone had agreed what to do about the patient's high cholesterol? Of course not.

That is not to suggest we should choose Band-Aid surgery over treating the insidious underlying problems. Its just a sensible triage. Nurse?

Stay tuned for my thoughts on those underlying issues in the next blog entry.

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