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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Health Care -- The Price Problem

Today's Washington Post underscores the biggest problem with the Obama Care healthcare reform deal -- it simply failed to address the most glaring problem with our healthcare system -- out of control prices, especially when compared to other countries.  The idea of providing universal healthcare without addressing prices -- not to mention cutting deals with insurers and pharma to ensure prices stay high -- should have been a non-starter from the get-go. 

In the article, Ezra Klein points out:

"In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish."

Obama is justly criticized in Noam Scheiber's "The Escape Artists: How Obama's Team Fumbled the Recovery" for narrowly focusing on healthcare reform when his true focus should have been economic recovery.  What a missed opportunity!  If he had focused on these figures as a basis for healthcare reform he might have gotten a broader segment of the public behind him, and might have been able to push through a reform that did something meaningful about these prices. 

He would have been aiding the economy AND pushing healthcare reform through at the same time.  If he had done that, he would have gone down in history as the greatest president ever.

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