Economic reality to collide with Obama health plan

John Merline at USA Today has an article on President-elect Obama’s plan to cut health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year.  To call Mr. Obama’s plan to bolster health information technology (HIT) and improve disease management thereby saving $200 billion dollars a year in health care costs that would be immediately passed on to patients unrealistic is to be kind.  Credit the President-elect for good intentions, but this marriage of fuzzy math to assumptions about HIT and disease management that range from wildly optimistic to exceedingly dubious would seem to have little chance of lowering the cost of health care.

If Mr. Obama is serious about lowering health care costs he should implement a loser pays mechanism into health care that would inhibit frivolous lawsuits and thereby cut malpractice insurance premiums.  Deregulating health care would also help lower costs and reduce paperwork.  Finally, I realize every other post on this blog seems to make this point but it can’t be repeated too often: We Need More Primary Care Physicians.  We’re not heading for a health care crisis.  We’re in it!  The population is getting older and will need more health care.  People with health insurance are using emergency departments as their primary care providers.  Things are bad now, but they can get much worse.  And if we don’t reverse the trend away from primary care medicine, they will.

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