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Dec
12
2006

A new national survey finds widespread support across the political spectrum for a number of health initiatives likely to be taken up by the new Congress, as well as a widely-held view that government should do more to address the high cost of health care. At the same time, the war in Iraq continues to play a dominant role among the public’s priorities, with economic and health concerns following distantly.

The poll, conducted November 9-19 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, included a nationally representative sample of 1,867 adults. The survey looks at the public’s priorities and views on health issues as a new Democratic majority takes the leadership of Congress and as the 2008 presidential campaign begins to take shape. It focuses, in particular, on differences and similarities among Democrats, Republicans, and those who identify themselves as Independents or something else.

When asked to pick their top health care priority, most people point either to expanding coverage for the uninsured (35%) or reducing health care costs (30%). Fewer (18%) choose improving the Medicare drug benefit. And, while policymakers struggle with the budget deficit, few people (6%) rank reducing spending on government health programs as their top priority. But partisan differences emerge on priorities, with Democrats placing a much higher priority on expanding coverage, Republicans emphasizing reducing costs, and Independents split.

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Dec 12, 2006 12:48:19 PM
P.F. Jennings says

About the real costs of health care.

I heard a rumor. Have no way to verify it. The rumor is that John Toussaint, the CEO of United Healthcare (ThedaCare) is getting a retirement package of $1.1 billion. That's BILLION dollars.

Farther down the page, you will see his public concern about the real costs of health care. However, if he and his peers cannot factor in the very, very large numbers - such as the above possible billion dollars - then any calculations of 'the real cost of health care' is meaningless.

Toussaint is on the record as having said, “The current system is broken.” See -- www.wha.org/newsCenter/pdf/member-thedacare6-29-06.pdf

And he has proposed (along with a group of others) that a database of information be set up, in order to understand . . . THE REAL COST OF HEALTH CARE.

(See -- www.healthalliant.org/Archive/HealthAlliant%20RHIO%20Newsline%2070605.pdf
("Getting at the Real Cost of Health Care" Business Journal (Milwaukee) June 26, 2005)
The article at that link says,

"Support is growing among insurers, health systems, and employers in Wisconsin to create a large-scale statewide database comparing the quality and costs of physicians and hospitals. The proposed "central data repository" would provide physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, and employers access to a wide range of information that could be used to improve the quality of health care and to compare costs among providers.

"Leaders of the effort, including health care executives and business leaders, are close to forming a private, nonprofit company to oversee creation of the database, said Dr. John Toussaint, chairman of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality Inc., which is leading the initiative.

"The collaborative is an organization of 19 hospitals, 14 physician groups, and seven health plans statewide formed in 2003 to gather and share health care data. Launching the system will cost about $3 million, Toussaint said.

"He said his vision is to establish a statewide electronic medical record that will allow a doctor in Milwaukee to compare his or her performance against all other Wisconsin physicians with a few clicks of a computer mouse. That data then could be shared publicly with employers and consumers. Insurance companies and other health care payers also could use the information to more easily form health care provider networks."

[ ED NOTE FROM POSTER - HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT THIS INFORMATION WOULD BE SHARED PUBLICLY? ]

"Finding someone to pay for the database effort will be one potential roadblock, with some suggesting funding from payers, providers, and the business community."

[ ED. NOTE FROM POSTER -- IF DR. TOUSSAINT IS RECEIVING A RETIREMENT PACKAGE WORTH 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS, HE CAN PAY FOR THIS ENTIRE DATABASE HIMSELF.]


Dec 14, 2006 7:11:08 AM
L. Piechowski says

I'm from Wisconsin and saw yesterday's news out of Oregon about how your state is going to give everyone prepaid debit cards and how some people if they want to can get even better health care by putting personal dollars on it. HA! This is not going to solve anything.

The current health care model came out of the heads of a few ivy league dudes that messed the world up 'cause they didn't identify what the true problem was in the beginning.

The problem is price and always has been price. If the method to solve the problem doesn't try to solve price, then the problem will not be solved. period.

I have an invoice for a stress test. Four years ago that test cost us about $500 total. Well, this last price was gouging and blindsided us. The cost was $2,587. Figure it out, what is the rate of inflation? Compare that to what the average inflation rate was.

Not stopping there, the test also included a leach doctor's charge whom we didn't know from Adam that just tacked his name onto the case. Upon questioning, he, Dr. Issam Al-Bitar, claimed he did 15 minutes work. He charged $551 for 15 minutes work. Figure it out. That's $2,204 per hour and for a year's worth that's over $4.5 million dollars in wages. It would take THREE men a LIFETIME of 50 years EACH making $30,000 gross wages to supply this one gouging doctor his millions for a year. That is three people's lives sucked up and totally wasted!

Multiply that out and discover that maybe the medical industry is taking more of their fair share of the GNP?

Government can regulate this gouging and tame it down. That is what the people are asking....we are not asking government to pump public money into clutch..only the lobbyists are demanding that. People do not need expensive bogus health insurance that does nothing but cause grief...only the lobbyists and the likes of Bain Capital LLC who now own HCA want that.

So maybe maybe because it is so important it is time to start looking at the REAL issue here, greed.
And when that is addressed, the problem will be solved.

Apr 11, 2008 3:18:03 PM
Doctor Notes says

"Public Sees Health Care Prices as Unreasonable and Wants Government to Take Steps to Lower Them"

Of course they see it as unreasonable. The health care system is flawed with insurance companies not paying up on claims, and ridiculous denial ratings.

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