The Washington Post has started the push to explain "rationing" to the public. As per my recent blog, any healthcare system would have to choose two options of these three - good, fast, cheap - in order to succeed. You can't have all three. If you include cheap in any of those combinations then rationing has to be the answer.
The article also mentions the "misalignment in the American system, fueled by industry advertising, physician fears about malpractice lawsuits and a culture that craves the latest, greatest everything". We are a culture that wants what it wants and wants it quickly. We are demanding that way. We are also a culture that loves to sue. This would need to change in order to create a healthcare system with the "cheap" option. So why is there no push for tort reform in the bills before Congress?
Here is another fun thing that the article throws out to its readers:
As much as $850 billion spent on medical care each year "can be eliminated without reducing the quality of care," according to a 2008 report by the New England Healthcare Institute. That is enough money to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million people, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Ah, it all so seems so simple when you are NOT a practicing doctor. I try to follow "evidence based medicine" in most of my decisions but no one is perfect and every case is different. The statement above makes it seem easy to fix. It isn't. It reminds me of that medical school commencement speech which goes something like this (paraphrasing):
Due to technology and innovation, half of what you have learned will be useless in a few years. The problem is that you won't know which half.