In a July 19 article, Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson describes Massachusetts health care reform measures as a model for the national health care legislation that passed Congress this year. He doesn’t paint a hopeful picture. True, marginally more people gained access to care — defined by having insurance coverage. But costs continue to spiral out of control.
The measures to control costs have been limited and largely ineffective. Wholesale changes in how doctors and hospitals would be paid were suggested, but without any specific plans. In Samuelson’s words, “The system’s fundamental incentives won’t change.” He raises the possibility of unpopular measures such as “accountable care organizations” or spending restrictions that would limit consumer choice of doctors and hospitals or raise the specter of essential care denied.
Samuelson leaves out the other path, the one that has been so successful in so much of the rest of the U.S. economy, a market-based approach in which consumers get to choose what care they want, but they must also face the economic impact of those choices. For more details, visit http://www.drscore.com and check out my White Paper on Health Care Reform.