Infection Control Today

April 1, 2000

Here We Go Again

Al Gore says he is the one that will reform healthcare. Here we go again: Clintonesque healthcare reform from inside the Beltway. I pick on Al because, based on his previous Clinton-Gore-sponsored Hillary Healthcare reform fiasco, he should have learned that those inside the beltway guys and gals,i.e., big central government, is not capable of reforming anything on the scale of our healthcare system.
No one is going to reform healthcare. No one is going to decide who gets left out. No one gets to decide that Medicare is a sacred cow. No one is going to tell insurance companies and HMOs who and what to cover. Here in sunny Arizona, we can't even decide whether consumers (patients) should have the privilege (notice I didn't use the term "right") to sue HMOs if we contest their rejection of coverage. That sort of legal exemption is only reserved for baseball. Those guys should know that, too.

We should resist the Clinton-Gore notion that our central government is going to muster up the strength, courage, or genius to really reform our healthcare system. It sure looks like this is something we have to do for ourselves. It is not something that can be done for us. Let me stress that "us" is not just those of us in the healthcare industry. "Us" is consumers (patients) and the healthcare industry. Notice I left out the insurance industry. Consumers should insist on a new Healthcare Bill of Rights built on the Seven Cs. The seven Cs include:

Coverage--that is inclusive, not universal. Universal is a nice goal, but let's achieve that goal progressively and avoid stalling out by trying to get all the way there in one step.

Choice--is a fundamental part of healthcare. Whether rich or poor, everyone wants the ability to choose a physician, caregiver, or facility.

Care--real care means basic things like having a physician or caregiver who actually can remember your name and affliction. Anonymous assembly line HMOs should not be mistaken for real care.

Confidence--that your insurer will cover you and your healthcare provider won't infect you.

Catastrophic Relief--As a nation, we really can afford to protect all consumers from financial devastation and bankruptcy caused by
catastrophic illness, long term disability, and insurers who don't live up to commitments. We do this for Mozambique, why not for ourselves and our families?

Clarity--we need a very clear separation between healthcare providers and insurance providers. We need to have physicians and
professional healthcare providers in charge of our care, our hospital charts, and our prescriptions. Insurance providers should absolutely
not be in charge of our health, our diagnosis, or our prognosis.

Consumer Protection.--like it or not, we need the right to sue and we need regulation.

Now back to Al. What were you thinking? I think you were do you spell "demagogue"?

Craig Burr

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