Yesterday I woke up to my morning Boston Globe. The headline of the right side of the front page — its major story — was “AG finds clout of hospitals drives cost.” “State’s insurers pay twice as much to some providers. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/29/attorney_general_says_clout_drives_up_health_costs/. The gist of the story is that the big giants in Mass health care, Partners,i.e Massachusetts General Hospital, the Brigham and Women’s are paid “15 to 60 percent more for essentially the same work as other hospitals, even though the equality is not superior.” In other words, it’s not the users of health care, i.e. patients who are driving up health care costs, but doctors, hospitals, medical equipment companies, insurers, Big Pharma. Big Surprise!!!
So why are economists, health policy experts, political representatives, and our President promoting — nay broadcasting — this myth, that people who have decent health care plans — those pesky Cadiallacs — plans the ones at fault. These Cadillacs are really Chevies, i.e. plans that everyone should have, not just the diminishing few who can bargain for them or who have enough individual bargaining power with an employer to get them. Yet instead of holding these plans up as a minimum standard, our p0litical representatives are bad mouthing them and, by extension, those of us who use our health care judiciously.
It may seem that health care reform is dead in Washington. Maybe it should be. What we need is a movement to bring it back to life in a form that we all can use. Which is some form of tax supported national health care. We should all be broken records on this.