Friday, July 3, 2009

Obama's Health Care (my optimistic skepticism)

I haven't blogged in quite a while. The time I usually spend blogging has been displaced recently by some really great books (see my updated book list to the right).

An issue on my mind these past few weeks, which I feel affects everyone (especially people in the health care professions), is health care.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert on public health, so keep in mind my thoughts are still being developed (in other words correct me on things you don't agree with). That is the main reason I blog, to develop my thoughts and build stronger opinions.

Obama says his new plan will cost one trillion dollars over the next ten years. He presents a plan as to how he will pay for it. I think this is all well thought out, and I was impressed by many of the ideas he presented. My first point of skepticism is that Obama seems to avoid explicitly stating that doctors will personally pay for a great deal of the new plan. How will this affect our health care system? Many know that to become a doctor takes way more work than it is worth (money wise), should we reduce this already meager motivating factor for quality people to pursue a career in medicine? I don't know.

Second, I think the unspoken truth behind Obama's plan is that having a public plan will create a monopoly, effectively getting rid of private insurers. How can a private insurance company, which complies to the rules and regulations the government puts on it, compete with a government option which makes its own rules? Again, I don't know.

That all said, I love that Obama recognizes the need for more primary care physicians. These are the physicians that get deep into debt in medical school and have trouble getting out. These are also the most important doctors when it comes to preventive medicine, in my opinion one of the most important keys to solving many of our health care problems.

I am glad Obama is aware of Gawande's article on health care. If you haven't read that yet, take some time to read it. I think the observations he made are crucial to understanding health care reform. Indeed his piece has changed the way I approach a solution.


Jake & Rachel said...

It's refreshing to read your posts because you're informed and go in unbiased. I can't say anything positive about Obama without getting mauled here in TX.