Head cracking time on health care reform

Head cracking time on health care reform

Summary: Despite the elevated political temperature the health reform debate has always been a negotiation between the buyers and sellers of health care services. With a seller saying a reasonable deal is available, the push by big business buyers for a better deal can move ahead.


The end to this blog's postings about health care reform policy is in sight.

It's head cracking time, with opponents of reform reduced to the role of spectators and the majority pulling out all the stops to get a bill passed.

That may indeed include budget reconciliation, a process requiring a simple majority vote that was used early this decade by President Bush and Republican leaders to push through tax cuts.

Pundits will talk today about whip counts, or Keith Olbermann's testimony, but the most important event of the week may be the release of a book, Health Care Will Not Reform Itself, by George Halvorson (above, from Thehealthcareblog.)

The book is important because the author is CEO of Kaiser Permanente, a major player in the current insurance market. Halvorson comes out this week as a proponent of reform, predicting a bill will pass and saying the industry can live with that.

Halvorson's view is that the cost curve can be bent if we better manage chronic conditions like diabetes, which costs $218 billion to manage today. Data and intervention on those with "pre-diabetes" can extend lives at lower cost, he believes.

Many elements of reform are already baked into the system, Halvorson adds. The HITECH bill will lead to data that identifies people at risk. A more holistic payment system, in which even the healthy participate and thus get needed wellness services, will also help, he says.

Despite the elevated political temperature the health reform debate has always been a negotiation between the buyers and sellers of health care services. With a seller saying a reasonable deal is available, the push by big business buyers for a better deal can move ahead.

And I can get back to writing about tech.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Health

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  • "And I can get back to writing about tech."

    NO - get to writing about TECH now - and stop using this site for your liberal soapboxing!

    • No liberals soapboxed in this story

      I am frankly tired of trolls telling me that strict reporting on what is actually happening in the health reform debate is "liberal soapboxing." I linked to the liberal soapboxing, but write here that the more important point is the acceptance of a major insurer of both the necessity and desireability of reform.

      If I were on a liberal soapbox I'd dump on the insurer.
      • And I Have a Bridge in Brooklyn I Can Sell You

        The may come out but I wonder if this is like you last ?straight up? story about republican softening.
        Still is there another forum for this story like the daily Kos?
        • That story was true, too...

          Many other outlets are coming out with similar stories, quoting the same people or different people.

          Business interests want health care inflation cut. They need this to happen if they're to continue making money.

          Doing nothing will keep health care inflation dysfunctionally high, so many businesspeople are pressing their Congresscritters to find a way to agree.

          That's just straight-up reporting. You don't like it, but facts are facts.
          • "straight-up reporting"? Nope. Liberal soap-boxing you mean.

      • RE: Head cracking time on health care reform

        You should visit a few <a href="http://www.drug-rehab.org/Georgia.html">Georgia drug rehab centers</a> so you see how the new health care reform would help a lot of people. The fact that diabetes costs 218 billion/year is the state's entire fault who has allowed pharmaceutical companies to act against the well being of citizens. In order for pharmaceutical companies to make profit, diabetes should not be cured ever. That way they will invent a drug every year which helps you manage your diabetes, but never treats it 100%.
  • the only head that will crack wil be Obama's

    Real Americans are concerned about deficit, death panels and the slippery slope to socialism.
    This 'reform' will fail in congress!
    We have to wait until 2013 when a strong conservative majority will deliver 21st century healthcare.
    Linux Geek
    • ... meanwhile Dollar is collapsing

      Dollar is the bottom line of US economy. If it is gone, so will be USA. While Roma empire is burning, we have these DC morons discussing how much more money they can burn over a universal health care plan, Cap & Trade, Cash for Clunkers, 8000$ credit for first time home buyers and all that insanity. The more deficit you spend, the faster Dollar collapses, and we will be heading Argentina / Zimbabwe / Weimar Republic wonderland pretty soon.
      • yeah right...

        Of course one way to strengthen the dollar might be to tax people more. I know you wouldn't want to do that. Another way might be to cut military spending. I know you wouldn't want to do that.

        So what are you really complaining about?
        • More tax leads to Dollar strength??!!


          Dana you really need to stop blogging about politics, economy and everything else you clearly have no clue about. Dollar is weakened b/c of mass inflation Fed Reserve is printing, and inflation is itself a FLAT TAX ON EVERYONE.

          The solution is to cut down across board including on military fronts, Wall St. / Detroit bailouts, housing market propping up, Cap & Trade, entitlement and the others, and eventually spike interest rate just like how Voulker and Reagan protected Dollar in 1980's (to 20%).
          • President Obama agrees with you

            As soon as the economy starts growing and employment starts rising you will see the punch bowl taken away on both the fiscal and monetary fronts.

            Rising interest rates alongside economic growth can mitigate any fall in the dollar. It will tax growth, but you're right -- a stronger dollar is a good thing.

            The health care bill now before the Senate will result in a lower deficit, according to the CBO (which you loved quoting when it said bills caused higher deficits).

          • Funny. Dana The Economist.

            Let's see:
            - he's an IT tech expert (although strangely enough he never manages to blog about that);
            - he's an economist (HAHAHAHAHHHH!!!!!)
            - he's a scientist
            - he's an ethics expert
            - he's an 'unbiased' and 'fair' political news commentator (HAHAHAHHAH!!).

            Note to Dana: ZDNet is an IT tech site. Come up with something relevant, not just your soapbox anxieties.
          • ka-ching...

            You claim to dislike me yet you constantly write these rants that make me money.

            Could you actually be me in disguise, using a different name?

            That would be freaky...
          • Again, you're welcome Dana. I enjoy this though.

            Btw you write "You claim to dislike me". I didn't. Strange that you write that. I simply disagree with you and I thoroughly enjoy making a fool of you (and I'm succeeding massively).

            We could actually have a beer no doubt. But that's my view. The interesting thing is that when a liberal and a conservative disagree
            - the conservative simply thinks the liberal is wrong;
            - the liberal thinks the conservative is evil.

            I think you just proved that point.

            And yes, I will be glad to give you many more hits. I just love debunking your myths in public. Hey, somebody's gotta do it! :)
          • Obama is preventing economy from recovering

            How could taking on more debt to pursue unproductive spending such as "cash for clunkers", "first time home buyer", "cap and trade" and so on help economy recover? To grow economy again the toxic debts have to be wiped out of the system, which means cutting federal budget, no bail outs to Wall St., Fannie & Freddie or Detroit, and yet Obama is doing all of them. Government needs to stay out in order for this economy to revive.
          • Conservative economists disagree

            So does the stock market. And real growth is returning.

            If your candy store is losing money, but you have the chance to buy a new machine, you buy it, even if you have debts. Yes, you take a risk, but you're gambling on America.

            There's a difference between throwing trillions into wars and tax cuts for your friends and investing money where you expect a return. I think the stimulus bill could have been better. It should have had more infrastructure investment.

            But much of it will generate a return. Unlike the previous $2 trillion in debt, which generated nothing. All the "growth" you claimed came from the tax cuts turned into the housing bubble and it's all gone.

            So the rules for nations and people are the same. Debt taken on with the expectation of a return is good, even if there's risk.

            This is what we learned about the Great Depression. Policymakers then did what you suggest, and the downturn was much worse. So now we're doing something different and getting different results.

            The debt has to be managed going forward. We can't do everything we want on taxes, can't do all we want on spending in any way. I agree on that. Just because the Bush debt was wasted money doesn't mean we can renege.

            The price of the big debt run-up that began in 2001 is still to be seen. But the last third seems to have been a better investment than the first two-thirds. It should help us get growth started again and start toward paying off the whole debt.

            That's my view of it.
          • Lots of misinformation in your post

            Quote: "If your candy store is losing money, but you have the chance to buy a new machine, you buy it, even if you have debts."

            A candy store taking risk is an example of private business doing their thing. So let private business stay in the private sectors. Government seldom showed any credible record of turning risks into profit, e.g. Social Security, Medicare, Post Office, Fannie & Freddie and so on, so let's keep government out.

            Quote: "tax cuts turned into the housing bubble and it's all gone"

            Good. So tell me why the government keeps this 8000$ tax credit for first-time home buyer program? Why does Obama keep trying to prop up the housing bubble? Isn't that a mistake?

            Quote: "This is what we learned about the Great Depression. Policymakers then did what you suggest, and the downturn was much worse."

            Except they did NOT. Hoover didn't listen to his Sec of Treasure who told him to liquidate the bad business. Hoover ran his own prop up programs, started tariff wars and launched huge federal spending projects such as "Hoover Dam". You cannot get any bigger infrastructure programs than "Hoover Dam", can you? Hoover refused to let economy balance itself and did what you suggested and turned a recession into a depression.

            You need to let private sectors manage risk and debt. Government's reckless intervention is not the solution. The reason we had this stupid housing bubble was b/c in 2001 Bush and Federal Reserve force injected the easy credit into the system in order to stimulated USA out of that Nasdaq crash and 9/11. Good intentions but ended up in a disaster even bigger than Nasdaq crash. We cannot repeat the same mistake to force inject any more debt into the system.

          "one way to strengthen the dollar might be to tax people more"

          Dana - I think you just sank to a New Level of cluelessness. That line is soooo amazing man.

          I'll screencapture that one for later! LOL! :)
          • Taxes here are very low

            The tax burden in America is lower than in any of the industrial countries that are beating our butts in business, and we're running trillion-dollar deficits thanks in part to unfunded tax cuts and a couple of wars.

            At some point the Laffer Curve realizes more tax revenue from higher rates. Otherwise a tax rate of zero leads to infinite revenue.
          • Dana. You never did get any economics education did you.

            Lol - that was sooo sad man.

            History has proven time and time again that lowering taxes lead to more economic activity.

            You're confusing two things and (as is usually the case with you) come up with some pretty bizarre opinions. Let me explain it here and I will keep it simple and to the essence: the USA's economic problems are not due to its lower tax rates, but due to two factors (a) lending too much for consumption; (b) a shocked financial system due to giving mortgages to people who cannot afford them.

            That, of course added to having a socialist as president who just managed to get the biggest theft ever legalized. And with that I mean the inter generational wealth transfer (from future children, excluding the ones btw that you allow to be sucked out of women's bellies) to the current shareholders of banks and big corps.

            The dollar will continue to drop in value compared to other currencies, mainly because of USA's debt load.

            Now that was simple eh? But if *you* want to pay more taxes, you go right ahead. Don't burden other people with your weird theories.

            There ya go. Another hit for you! :)