KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Washington Post Interviews Atul Gawande

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein spoke with surgeon and writer Atul Gawande. Klein writes: "Gawande's New Yorker article comparing the medical systems of El Paso and McAllen, Tex., has been a definitional piece in the health reform conversation. President [Barack] Obama has repeatedly invoked it. Senators have talked about it. The media have embraced it. I spoke to Gawande this afternoon about the fallout from his article, the problem of revenue-driven medicine, and whether a public plan would make a difference."

For instance, Klein asks: "Do you think much that we're hearing in the political conversation is responsive to the issues you pointed out?"

Gawande: "The Washington debate -- there are smart reasons to think about including a public option in the mix, but we have not been thinking hard enough about how we control costs and make a better system. I think it's achievable in about 10 to 15 years, and maybe even faster. I can tell you three things that will transform McAllen overnight. But CBO doesn't score them" (Klein, 6/23).

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