Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why We Should All (Health) Care

Came across a poll of doctor's from the people at Investor's Business Daily that had a lot of interesting results. You can find the series of articles here. I read one of the articles and all of the comments were from people opposed to the findings, calling into question its methodology and doubting the accuracy of the results. One thing to consider is the fact that the IBD/TIPP pollsters have the most accurate pollsters over the last few elections, coming within one percentage point of predicting the actual results. What I thought was really dumb was when one person wanted them to report on response rates, sampling procedures, etc., but of course that stuff isn't going to ever come up in a news article. In any case, they responded to some of those concerns in the beginning of this article here. One quick note about statistics - it's better to have a random sample of 50 people than it is to have a convenient sample of 50,000 people.

The last article I linked to brings up some of the most common concerns mentioned by doctors in the survey. When I've talked to my MD friend about the health care proposals, the first point he usually brings up has to do with the fact that most of the physicians he knows would consider immediate retirement should the reforms take place. This is not a consequence I have heard from any other place, but finally gets attention in this poll. They found that 45% of all doctors would consider retirement should the reforms take place.

My friend also splits time in his residency between the VA and Cedar Sinai, and often talks about the poor quality of care at the VA as compared to the other hospitals he's worked at. This point is also mentioned in the article. Of course, if we want a preview of what government-run medicine looks like, we should just start modeling other hospitals after the VA.

Speaking of the reform, one doctor quipped, "All the efficiency of the post office, all the compassion of the motor vehicle bureau."

Said another doctor, "Government health care will wipe out the private insurance companies. Most of the doctors in private practice will give up ... because of a low reimbursement from the government. The Medicare, Medicaid program is a good example of government-run health care."

In the end, it seems that one of the biggest problem's of the new proposal is the massive surge in costs of health care to the nation, with no recourse for recouping that money unless there is massive debt accumulation (even more than what it has been recently) or some serious tax hikes. Although the current system is not perfect, it's still preferable to what Obama is proposing. Over at the Carpe Diem blog, the author has made available a series of posts that consider the ways in which the private sector has been able to outstrip what current providers are able to offer. I am inclined to agree - the best solution will come from private industry, not through the government.

Thankfully, public opposition to the bill is increasing, reaching an all-time high yesterday, as reported by Rasmussen. This graphic shows the pattern of support/opposition to the health care reform since June.

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