Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Formation of the Debate

We can do healthcare better. It has reached the point where idle chatter and failed legislative attempts at healthcare reform are not enough. This idea of the transformation of the healthcare delivery system into a more cost-effective, accessible and quality driven model needs to be fulfilled. I do not believe that many still cling to the notion that the current system sufficiently meets all of these criteria.

Now that we have this great impetus to transform the delivery system, the question of how becomes greater than the question of why. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of “whys” and the hopes of “hows” from those that practice political speak. Yet rarely do I hear the supporting evidence that reveals whether the pathways being chosen by our leaders will truly lead us toward the type of reform that matches our goals which we can loosely list in 3 basic categories:

1. Quality issues - goal of maintaining (at a minimum) or increasing quality

2. Access issues - goal of increasing accessibility

3. Cost issues - goal of decreasing costs

We cannot let this debate be politicized, for all of us will at some point be patients. And patients are neither Democrat nor Republican, and they are not a constituency. Illness does not discriminate. I have yet to treat a prostate or kidney cancer that is political. Healthcare is so different from the financial aspect of our lives. Those that are ill know that health has no monetary value-it is immeasurable and it can be fleeting. We can go broke many times, but we only get one chance at life. So let us be wise, and let us put aside the political bickering that distracts us from the task at hand. I, too, want everyone to have the best healthcare; that desire is not owned by one particular segment of the American population.

Today’s post will lay the groundwork of “Maintaining or Increasing Quality,” specifically dealing with the current debate regarding the quality of care delivered within this current system. Subsequent posts will delve into accessibility and cost.

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