is now up. http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columns/story/1628028.html
Again, sorry for not being able to link it here or on the side bar...the proxy server I am having to use to access the blog while in China greatly reduces the functionality of blogspot and I am not such a whiz without the point and click options.
Point of today's column is to put a bit more clarity on the cost issue that everyone says is so important. Two questions are key: can we afford our system? Answer here is a value judgement (I say no). Question 2: do we get our money's worth for what we spend? Decidedly not is my answer.
It seems as though we had a pause which was related to trying to refocus on cost control in reform bills. Some progress has been made in terms of getting closer to a consensus bill in the House and Senate, but all coalitions are a bit wobbly I think. The House Republicans have offered a bill, but a quick glance does not lead me to think that it is a serious proposal. It does contain a more robust malpractice aspect than did the patients' choice act (Senate Republican alernative) with some caps; this is closer to what most Republicans want, I suspect. Malpractice hasn't been talked about so much so far, but I suspect it turns out to be quite important if any deal on a comprhensive bill is to be reached.
Often the August Congressional recess is a sleepy time politically, but not this year.
The next few weeks I am planning to write in more detail about policy options to address different cost areas outlined in today's column. Next week is patient safety and malpractice.