Health Care Reform Founders Because Of Pay Cuts To Professionals.
Health care reform is a "perilous project" because "substantially reducing healthcare costs means cutting the incomes and profits of physicians, nurses, health insurance firms, hospitals, and others," the Christian Science Monitor reports. "Proposals to cut healthcare costs boil down to 'talking about people's salaries,' says Henry Aaron of the Washington-based Brookings Institution, who recently bet Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne that no large-scale healthcare reform would pass this year." The health care industry is "already the biggest in the nation," employing "more than 14 million people, many of them well paid. Its lobbyists have serious clout." In the past, those affected by proposed reform efforts have been able to "block change" in Congress. "If the future follows the pattern of the past, they will succeed again in preventing serious cost reductions."
America spends "60 to 80 percent more of it's GDP on healthcare than many other rich nations do. And that's before adding the money the Obama administration will need to provide health insurance for 45 million uncovered Americans." That's "$650 billion more on healthcare than might be expected given its wealth and the experience of comparable well-to-do nations," according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study. "Roughly two-thirds of that excess pays for outpatient care, including visits to physicians, same-day hospital treatment, and emergency-room care, often expensive tasks relying primarily on paid individuals and not medical machines." At a recent meeting with President Barack Obama, the health care industry said it would "trim $2 trillion in cost over 10 years," but Jean Mitchell, a Georgetown University health economist, says "that's a joke." "Do you know anyone who wants to take less income?" she says (Francis, 6/9).