Readers have sent notes to this blog asking, in essence, “Dr. Walt, what healthcare reform do you support?” And, in his labor day speech about healthcare reform, President Obama had sharp words for those of us who have loudly opposed his proposals in public forums. He said, “What’s your answer? What’s your solution?” Then he said, “The fact is, they don’t have one. It’s do nothing.” He could not be more wrong. So, here’s not only what I support, but what most American’s support.
I agree with the Four Pillars of Health Care Reform espoused by many others, including “Conservatives for Patients’ Rights.”
Yes, when it comes to healthcare reform, I’m pro-choice. A patient must have the right to choose their own doctor, and have the right to choose the health insurance that best fits their needs and budget. And, healthcare professionals must have the right to choose which plans, procedures, and prescriptions they will or will not participate in. The healthcare professional’s right of conscience must be preserved
Healthcare reform must level the playing field for doctors, insurers, and consumers in a way that will result in healthy competition that drives down costs and increases favorable outcomes. Healthcare professionals and institutions should publicly post their prices so healthcare consumers can shop and compare. States should eliminate burdensome regulations so insurance companies can compete equally across state lines.
Making healthcare services more accessible, transparent, and open through standardized insurance claims forms and equal tax breaks for individuals and companies will control costs by helping consumers and businesses compare “apples to apples” across the health care spectrum.
4) Personal Responsibility
Meaningful healthcare reform must place the responsibility for healthcare decision making squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of the patient. This type of reform will encourage individuals make to make healthy lifestyle choices and will assign higher costs to lifestyle choices that result in more healthcare costs. Infusing personal responsibility into health care reform allows us all to maintain our cherished freedom to live our lives without government intrusion.
I would add a fifth pillar.
5) Encourage a Primary-Care Based Healthcare System
A healthcare system based on primary care and the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) will achieve the simultaneous goals of enhanced health care access, improved quality, and lower costs. At the same time, it’s critical that any healthcare system have a sufficient primary care physician workforce to support a primary care-based health system. As long as reimbursements for primary care healthcare professionals are 50 to 75% below specialists, these goals will be difficult to reach.
In his labor day speech about healthcare reform, President Obama had sharp words for those who have loudly opposed his proposals in public forums and for the insurance industry. He said he will listen to critics, but wants to hear them offer alternatives. “What’s your answer?” Obama said. “What’s your solution? The fact is, they don’t have one. It’s do nothing.”
He could not be more wrong. Here are three plans that have been on the table for some time that have many components I think most Americans could and would support. You can find the details about these, and every other current proposal here.
1) Center for Health Transformation 21st Century Intelligent Healthcare Solution to a 300 Million Payer System
Source R. E. Bachman and N. Desmond, “A 21st Century Intelligent Healthcare Solution to Creating a 300 Million Payer System,” Center for Health Transformation, April 1, 2008
2) Coburn Patients Choice Act
Source “The Patients’ Choice Act” Comprehensive Summary, Official Website of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), May 20, 2009
3) Heritage Foundation Design Principles for a Patient-Centered, Consumer-Based Market
Source Edmund Haislmaier, “Health Care Reform: Design Principles for a Patient-Centered, Consumer-Based Market,” Heritage Foundation, April 23, 2008