Cures as the Positive Hook for Healthcare Policy

James Pinkerton offers a strategic angle for Republicans on healthcare:

Health-care spending is a problem, but it is important to remember that spending is a secondary issue. The primary issue is health itself — how to achieve it, how to maintain it, and how to regain it in the case of sickness or injury. Health-care finance is hotly contested political ground, yet Washington has had precious little to say on the subject of health in recent years.
That is perplexing — and a huge missed opportunity. After all, people don’t go to the doctor because they have insurance plans or health-savings accounts. They go to the doctor to get well and to stay well. Americans’ eyes may glaze over at the wonky debates that are catnip to Washingtonians, but, beyond the Beltway, they can’t seem to get enough information about their bones, bladders, and blood pressure. …
Those on the right who have been fighting Obamacare have been loud and articulate in their criticism of its bureaucratic aspects, but they have had precious little to say about curing and preventing diseases. The opportunity now exists for Republicans to reassociate themselves with the creation of health. Let the Democrats own the redistribution of health-care dollars and the management of scarcity; Republicans have a chance to own the much more powerful issue of solving health problems.

Extrapolating a little bit to derive policy from Pinkerton’s suggestion, free-market based reforms — real choice when it comes to the context in which health insurance is purchased, a functional system that pushes high-deductible plans back toward being actual insurance rather than an unnecessary layer for routine care, and tort reform — would jump start the healthcare industry and probably free up money for public investment in research.
It’s an approach worth candidates’ consideration — not to be forgotten, of course, once they claim offices.

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Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

But, Justin, there is a dilemma there also…although if all you are concerned about is talking point that is another thing.
The GOP and “free marker pro-business” types fight against any and all regulation of the market to make for healthier people…for instance, they fight against proper labeling for foods and calorie counts in restaurants, they fight against money for childhood education programs which might feed poor kids better foods and teach them nutrition, etc.
One would think consistency is important in these matters.
On the statistics front, if it were true that Republicans walked the walk of health (taking better care of themselves), it is strange that most of the very healthy states do not have republican majorities, while the unhealthiest DO.
BTW, in terms of good news, I hope you noticed that RI and MA both scored very high on the recent study in terms of lack of obesity (healthy populations). I didn’t hear you quote that – and since you usually look for every opportunity to belittle your fellow staties, figured you might have interest.
Fattest States:
“#1 Miss. – Tennessee and Alabama tied for second, and West Virginia came in third, followed by Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas and South Carolina”
ALL or most strongly republican.
Healthiest states: VT, MA, RI, CT, CA, CO, etc……
Justin, how does that square with how republicans want to govern and lead? Again, if all you are looking for are talking points – well, people will believe just about anything. But I still hold to the possibility that you actually care about reality (facts, results).

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Stuart,
You forgot Hawaii which maintains its 5th place skinniest population position two years in a row and is ranked in top ten (#8) overall healthiest state in the nation according to StateMaster.com. For Global Quality of life living Mercer.com ranks Honolulu as #1 U.S.A. city in the world.

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