Is It Time for a Health Care Reform Time Out?


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Given their recent sniping, it seems as if fundamentalists on both sides of the health care reform debate are girding themselves for war. What the Obama administration intended to be an inclusive, bi-partisan endeavor appears to be devolving into same-as-it-ever-was, us-versus-them Washington politics. It’s time for one side to either draw a line in the sand or extend an olive branch and find some common ground before the delicate structure of health care reform that’s been assembled to this point collapses into a useless pile of scrap.

For starters, the administration needs to demonstrate that its efforts are about health care reform, not health insurance reform. In many respects, this is what’s at the heart of the opposition’s ire. For their part, insurance companies are actually pro-reform and painting them as the dastardly enemy is both unfair and unproductive. Insurers truly believe, and rightfully so, that a government-run health care option will run them out of business. Contrary to what the administration would have us believe, the insurance industry is more concerned about survival at this point than profits. Additionally, insurers worry that the absence of a private insurance industry will stifle innovation, since it is from the private sector that virtually all medical advancements arise. Again, a very credible concern. The health insurance industry would be more likely to back the president’s reform ideas if there was willingness to compromise on certain issues. Insurers merely want some assurance that they’ll survive in the “new” health care system.

Obviously, the whole reform issue is massively complex. And as the partisan bickering heats up, the American people, as one writer put it, are becoming terrified. Both democrats and republicans need to step back and contemplate whether an environment of supreme fear is one in which anything worthwhile can be accomplished, least of all something as intricate as health care reform. It’s time to abandon the antagonistic rhetoric and return to a spirit of rational compromise that seeks fairness for all.

David St. Clair
David St.Clair founded MEDecision in 1988 to provide healthcare organizations with collaborative healthcare management solutions that provide a simplified and smart way to manage the health of members and member populations. The ultimate aim of MEDecision's technologies is to improve the quality and affordability of care. MEDecision believes that, in the aggregate, its customers insure or manage care for approximately one in every six people in the U.S. with health insurance


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