Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It don't come easy

First of all, I hope I evolve as well as Ringo has.  Even McCartney is beginning to look his age.  But that's not the point of this post.

In 1971, Ringo sang:
I don't ask for much, I only want trust
And you know it don't come easy
And this trouble vine keeps growing all the time
And you know it just ain't easy
Now, some forty years later, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray could be singing exactly the same lines.

As a result of growing concerns over ever increasing health care costs in Massachusetts, the Senate President has boldly taken the lead in crafting a revised payment system for physicians and hospitals.  At the front edge of this process has been a movement toward global payments whereby fixed populations would be allotted a fixed amount of reimbursement meant to cover all (or at least most) of their health care needs.  But, in a move worth understanding and fully considering, Ms. Murry has scrapped plans to overhaul the sytem for the time being.  She stated: "It’s like going around in circles.  Nobody is in agreement on anything."  Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo "shares a commitment to tackling health care costs, but doesn’t want to see any legislation that would limit patient choice," said his spokesman, Seth Gitell.

Herein lies the challenge.  If the central task is to have everyone in the industry agree and to provide full access to all services for everyone, then this will be an impossible task.  And it is worth nothing that this is also the fundamental challenge of regulators who are now tasked with implementing President Obama's ambitious health reform law... a law with overarching and ambitious goals but scant details on how to accomplish them. 

The public debate is now getting started.  If our government officials are looking for broad consensus and are not willing to limit choice, then it's going to be an uphill climb. 

Perhaps I should quote from the other surviving Beatles' song.  "The Long and Winding Road."  Or maybe from the group's catalogue.  "We Can Work It Out."  "Come Together."  I got it: "Help." 

Seriously, I could go on all day...

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