Memo to Mitt and Newt:
You’re barking up the wrong tree on health care reform. You’re both telling the world how much you oppose ObamaCare, especially the mandate for individuals to buy health care insurance. That’s opposition; you need a positive position.
Problem is, fellas, RomneyCare in Massachusetts contained such an individual mandate, and, Newt, you supported that plan when it was rolled out. No getting around it.
The bigger problem is that you are tackling the wrong problem. The biggest issue facing health care in America is the soaring costs of medical care. The hyperinflation in charges from hospitals, clinics and doctors prices people out of care.
The access challenge is a direct result of the stratospheric costs and prices.
The reason you are both confused about how to develop a better business model for the delivery of health care in America is that you are listening to the wrong people. You are listening to the policy wonks when you should be listening to innovators in the real world.
A lot of them are at work in Wisconsin, one of the great incubators for enlightened public policy. Remember, welfare reform? It started here.
Go visit John Toussaint in Appleton; he’ll show you what lean disciplines can do for driving out millions of dollars of waste and hundreds of thousands of errors in the medical processes. He’ll also educate you on payment reform. Think bundled prices.
Have a conversation with Dr. Raymond Zastrow or Dr. Jami Doucette, who are leaders in bringing primary care to work-site clinics. Intimate, proactive primary care keeps people out of expensive hospitals and cuts costs by up to one-third.
Talk to Larry Rambo of Humana, a leader in introducing consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) to the country back in 2003. CDHP plans with personal health accounts cut costs by 20-30%. That’s not wonk thought; it’s proven stuff.
Talk to Dr. Jeff Thomson of LaCrosse, where 95% of the Medicare population has signed advanced directives for health care.
You’ll notice, Mitt and Newt, that these real reforms are right down the middle of the fairway for Republicans. They are market-based. They are rooted in individual responsibility, a hallowed Republican tenet. They are more about rigorous management than political science. They are bottom-up reforms vs. top-down mandates.
Just amend your positions to include the reforms that are already sweeping though private sector.
What’s not to like for a candidate trying to lead the Republican Party into the White House?