But I've also missed a lot of the health care debate - and it's important for me to get up to speed. Psoriatic Arthritis is a chronic condition... and many of us with PsA are looking at huge medical and drug expenses for the rest of our lives. The decisions being made right now in Washington could deeply influence my health (and many of yours) for the long term.
So, yesterday, at my favorite gluten free cafe, I turned to the conservative writers that every liberal loves to love (Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks). And they both spoke very highly of Atlantic Monthly's cover article, called "How American Healthcare Killed My Father", written by David Goldhill... they both suggested that Obama should read it as he moves forward with health care reform.
So I read it too... and I hope the president reads it. It's long. It's heartbreaking. It's complicated. And it is really good. Goldhill pushes past the current focus on financing health insurance, and digs deep into what is really faulty at many levels with America's health care system, including:
A wasteful insurance system; distorted incentives; a bias toward treatment; moral hazard; hidden costs and a lack of transparency; curbed competition; service to the wrong customer. These are the problems at the foundation of our health-care system, resulting in a slow rot and requiring more and more money just to keep the system from collapsing.And his solution goes much farther than the solution Obama presented last night - he would like to see more consumer-centered health care system which would:
not rely on a single form of financing for health-care purchases; it would make use of different sorts of financing for different elements of care—with routine care funded largely out of our incomes; major, predictable expenses (including much end-of-life care) funded by savings and credit; and massive, unpredictable expenses funded by insurance.If you skip to page 6 of this article, you'll find thorough description of his plan for a more consumer driven health care system. It isn't a perfect plan (which he admits) but it is a compelling one. As someone who has huge monthly medical bills, I was first terrified by his plan - what? I'd pay for my Remicade out of my savings? But the more I read, and the more I thought about my year and a half trying tackling treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis, the more his plan made sense. Goldhill calculates that if we took all the money we spend in our lifetimes to pay for health insurance and sock it away, we would have over 1.7 million dollars each, to spend on our own health care. And if we have control over where we spend that money, hospitals and clinics would have to become more competitive (and transparent), raising quality.
Imagine, all of us with Psoriatic Arthritis, with 1.77 million each to spend on our health care. What changes could we make, in the quality of our clinics, our rheumatologists, the drugs we're offered, merely by having more choice? I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it.
Take a look at the article. It's a revolutionary idea, and educational. I liked it.