Friday, August 8, 2008

Healthcare reform needed but comes hard

Flanigan Lecture
August 8, 2008

Health care reform comes hard because we didn't get to where we are by accident. That's according to Steven Schroeder, MD, Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care at the University of California - San Francisco and former president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Schroeder spoke before more than 200 people at the 14th Annual Flanigan Lecture on July 31 in Kansas City, MO.

While there's a long time consensus to reform health care, Dr. Schroeder noted a number of barriers keep us from doing so, including a tendency to look for painless, quick fixes, and a reluctance to take on the involved sectors in healthcare.

There's also an economic Catch 22 to health insurance reform. Dr. Schroeder said when the economy is prosperous and unemployment low, the middle class feels secure about health insurance. When the economy goes bad and people lose jobs and healthcare, there is not enough money to pay for expanded coverage.

Dr. Schroeder noted a number of factors keeping us from reforming healthcare, while also pointing to four pathways that could lead us toward that goal:

1. Economic depression mobilizes the middle class
2. Charismatic president pushes legislation
3. Business asks for help
4. The medical profession mobilizes

What do you think? Share and view your comments by clicking on “Comments” at the end of this post.


Lecture summary
Video: Dr. Steven Schroeder regarding why healthcare reform comes so hard
Dr. Schroeder Lecture PowerPoint

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Anonymous Joy Weydert, MD said...

I'm sorry I was not able to attend Dr. Schroeder's lecture last week, but in review of his Power Point sides, I find them very similar to a presentation I recently gave on the same subject. If I may add my spin on this, it may give some food for thought on strategies for health care reform.
Many of the countries that rank better than the US in health outcomes and costs readily use various complementary and alternative therapies such as botanicals, homeopathic remedies, or acupuncture alone or in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. In these countries, these modalities of treatment are more widely studied and accepted as valid therapies. The costs of these interventions are considerably less than "conventional" therapies and often have the same or better outcomes.
I believe that it is the reluctance on the part of our medical professionals and the overwhelming influence of the pharmaceutical industry that keeps us from looking to these other modalities as viable options for health and healing. Improving funding for such research in our country may allow us to explore these options and have the "evidence" needed to encourage health care professionals to move in that direction.

Friday, August 08, 2008  

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