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The Errington Thompson Show 7-25-09

My special guests – Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, Middle East expert and Rick Newman, Senior Business Correspondent for US News and World Report.

I start the show by discussing healthcare. Since the discussion in Washington has become so confusing, I start at the beginning. I play a clip from Barack Obama’s news conference in which he lays out the facts of what happens if we keep the status quo. I think it is clear that the status quo will more than double our health care over the next 10 years. We know the statistics about bankruptcies and the crushing burden of healthcare on small businesses.

We need to do something different. The question is what? In my mind, in order to organize this process, I think it is important to lay out the goals. The goals that I have laid out for healthcare reform our portability, efficiency and cost effective. Many of the proposals that are currently floating around Washington are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The goals that I’ve outlined, in my opinion, are the minimum qualifications for healthcare reform.

Let’s simply look at the numbers. In 2007, we spent $2.2 trillion on health care. This averages out to approximate $7400 per American. Approximately $700 billion was spent on health insurance overhead. If the government takes the $700 billion and spends it on covering the 46 million Americans, we can do this and have money left over. We don’t need to inject any more money into the system. I then mention several ways that we can control costs. Finally, I discussed a few elephants in the room — immigration reform, which I think is intimately associated with health care reform and tort reform. One of the things that I didn’t mention, because of time, was that we should also look at Medicare and Medicaid fraud. How can we reduce the cheating in the system?

I chat with my special guest Brian Katulis, fellow at the Center for American Progress, Middle East expert. We begin the conversation by talking about Pakistan and what’s going on in Pakistan. We talk about this huge refugee crisis that has been caused by the military offensive against the Taliban. We also talk about the internal politics of Iraq and Iran. I appreciate Brian’s knowledge and his time.

I then talk to Rick Newman, Senior business correspondent for U.S. News & World Report. Malls. Rick has a series of columns on the health of our economy by looking at the health of several malls. Currently, malls are dying all across the United States. We talk about how we’ve got way too many retail stores and many of these malls are not going to survive this recession. We also discuss another one of his columns which focuses on several industries that are still don’t have a tough time even after the recession is over. This is a great discussion. I appreciate Rick’s insight into these topics.

This is a fun and informative show. Enjoy!

By |2012-05-07T14:55:24-04:00August 1st, 2009|Economy, Healthcare, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Podcasts|Comments Off on The Errington Thompson Show 7-25-09

Serious Healthcare Reform – Part Two (Goals)

So, what are the goals of health care reform? Some believe that the goals are just to rearrange the deck chairs. In my mind, we’re sailing on the Titanic; therefore, rearranging the deck chairs is not going to fix the problem. Instead, I think we need to take this opportunity to perform a comprehensive overhaul of our health care system. We must remember that our system developed over the last 100 years. It has developed mostly as a hodgepodge. There hasn’t been one person or one group of people who sat down and thought about how health care will be delivered.

Let’s guarantee health care for all. In my mind, universal coverage is the only way to get this done. This does not mean that everybody deserves or should be covered for everything. Instead, I do believe that office visits and hospitalizations need to be covered. Preventive medicine needs to be covered along with mental health care. Physical therapy and occupational therapy, prescriptions and dental care all need to be covered.

There has to be some mechanism to control costs. We’ve seen over the years that without cost controls medical costs skyrocket. Does every hospital need the latest CT scanner ?

Americans should be able to choose their own physician and their own hospital. Also, Americans need better data on what they are choosing. How good is that hospital, really? That data should be readily available. If you’re going to a surgeon for a hernia repair, what is his/her rate of recurrence?

We need to fix the problem concerning access to health care. Many patients complain about being unable to see a physician. When most doctors offices are open from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon and most people work from 8:30 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon, no wonder there’s an access problem. We need clinics to be open earlier and stay open later. We need clinics open on the weekends.

Health care reform must include high-quality, coordinated health care. We have to have a mechanism to control medical errors. How do we decrease or eliminate hospital-acquired infections? How do we guarantee that we are not paying for procedures that have not been proven to be of benefit? These things need to be worked out in order to control costs. A patient who is in a car crash in northern Pennsylvania is currently without his medical records. His physicians are flying blind, as it were. We should be able to put a system in place where his physicians have timely access to his records even if he’s from southern Florida.

We have to do something about malpractice. There’s not a day that goes by that physicians don’t worry about malpractice. Many physicians practice defensive medicine, driving costs up and doesn’t necessarily add to the quality of medicine that they are delivering. We need to develop a malpractice system were patient grievances are compensated adequately and quickly. On the other hand, frivolous lawsuits also need to be handled with minimal costs to physicians, hospitals and insurance companies.

Finally, we have to fund the system in such a way that is fair to all Americans. Everyone should have to pay their fair share.

I believe that these are the correct goals for reforming our health care system. What are your thoughts?

By |2009-03-25T20:20:25-04:00March 25th, 2009|Economy, Healthcare|Comments Off on Serious Healthcare Reform – Part Two (Goals)
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