I recently attended the Old North State Medical Society’s Health Care Reform Banquet. The keynote speaker was national health care policy expert Kenneth Thorpe.
Thorpe worked on the Clinton health care reform attempt. He said obesity contributes to health care costs. He stressed prevention as an important part of health care reform. He also talked about the concept of a “medical home” a primary provider who coordinates all the care for a patient with many chronic conditions. Instead of the current fee for service system where the patient sees many different specialist and no one coordinates medications or compliance. He talked about the importance of preventative screenings with no copays.
His most important message with the failure of the Clinton health care plan was the attitude of getting your first choice and if you could not have your first choice you chose the status quo. This time around Thorpe said no one will get their first choice and changing the status quo has to be more important. We have to pass a bill.
Thorpe and G.K. Butterfield, who were both given awards for their work on health care reform, said their are political hot buttons in the bill you hear about in the media like immigration, abortion, taxes, and the cost. What you do not hear about in the house bill are common sense things like 85/15: Insurance companies having to spend at least 85% of every health care premium dollar they collect on actual health care services and spend no more than 15% on administrative costs.
The theme of the night was what I was thinking myself this week. A health care reform bill has to be passed, the status quo can’t stand any longer. We need to put aside partisanship, where we stand on abortion, how much of a public option there is, or our views on immigration. I am willing to give up my first choice to do the right thing and fight to end the status quo of health care now.