Monday, June 29, 2009

The Values of Health Reform

Rosemary Flanigan
June 29, 2009

The new Hastings Center REPORT is focused on health reform, from the perspective of VALUES. (“Connecting American Values with Health Reform”)

Notice the “health,” not “healthcare.”

Erika Blacksher, formerly of the Center and now with Hastings Center, sees “Health” as the value at stake—healthCARE is ”but one determinant of health, and by some measures it is a relatively minor one.”

It’s an interesting way to get people to focus on reform:

Bruce Jennings writes on LIBERTY; Paul Menzel on JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS in mandating universal participation; Jim Sabin on RESPONSIBILITY (in which he contrasts Joey Starrett and Shane the cowboy in the movie); William Sage on SOLIDARITY (it is good to hear talk of “public good” in this economic downturn time); Dan Callahan on MEDICAL PROGRESS (and its unintended consequences—Dan is still beating that drum); Lawrence Gostin on PRIVACY (and how the prevailing model fails to protect it); Ed Pellegrino on PHYSICIAN INTEGRITY (what else?); Frank Davidoff on QUALITY, and Marc Roberts on EFFICIENCY.

I’ll be telling you some of my thoughts. Overall, I like anchoring reform in something besides economics. More later—unless one or other of you has read the issue and want to get a headstart. THANKS.



Blogger Practical Bioethics said...

Response to this post:

Dear Sr. Rosemary:

Speaking unofficially only, as an individual on the general issue of health care, neither endorsing nor taking a position against any political party or politician(s), I do not see how there can possibly be any real health care reform until the profit motive is removed from health care.

I retired after serving 23 years in the U. S. Military as a Dental Corps Officer (slightly over 20 of those years on active duty.)

During my active duty career, my family and I received all of our health care from the Army Medical Corps, and it was superb.

Whatever care we needed we received promptly, and the quality of that care was excellent.

No, we could not select our practitioner, but to us that meant next to nothing. Since the government owned the facilities (all were "on post,") and all the care-givers were active duty officers and enlisted personnel with only a small number of civilian contractors who were salaried - at levels much below their civilian counterparts, and from my own 20 plus years of experience as a U. S. Army Dentist, there simply was no profit motive.

All providers received superb educations either partially or (generally, for post graduate work,) completely at Army expense. All were "over-trained" if anything.

We never felt like wards of a "nanny-state" either as patients or providers and well-ness was always promoted. This is what a National Health Service would be like.

The career health care providers were there because they chose to practice in that sort of environment.

Were the profit motive to be completely removed from health care. Unless this is done, won't we merely be making cosmetic changes and "tweaking" things around the margins with little if any substantive change?

Most Rev. Irl A. Gladfelter, C.S.P., D.D.S., S.T.M., D.D.
Lieutenant Colonel, Dental Corps, United States Army (Retired) Metropolitan Archbishop, Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church International Headquarters, St. Michael's House 1200 N.E. Terrace Kansas City, MO 64118-1361
Chancery: (816) 468-9691

Tuesday, June 30, 2009  

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