Friday, March 22, 2013

Fwd: qotd: The Cost Curve Is Bending, but Not for All of Us

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: The Cost Curve Is Bending, but Not for All of Us
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 06:32:41 -0700
From: Don McCanne <>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <>

Physicians for a National Health Program
March 21, 2013
The Cost Curve Is Bending, but Not for All of Us
By Don McCanne, M.D.

"If the piece has a hero, it's an unlikely one: Medicare, the government
program that by law can pay hospitals only the approximate costs of
care. It's Medicare, not Obamacare, that is bending the curve in terms
of cost and efficiency."
- Richard Stengel, managing editor, TIME, regarding "Bitter Pill' by
Steven Brill

Experience has shown that the efforts of private insurers are relatively
feeble when compared to the tremendous power of government administered
pricing. This is demonstrated by the S&P Healthcare Economic Indices,
which indicate the change in the average per capita cost of health care
services. When breaking down the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index
into the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index and the S&P Healthcare
Economic Commercial Index (private insurers and large self-funded
employer groups), it is clear that Medicare has bent the cost curve when
compared to the private commercial insurers (Figure 1 - available at
link, below).

Even though Medicare has done a better job than the private sector at
getting prices right, comparisons with other nations have shown that we
can do even better. The United States and Canada were on the same
trajectory in growth of health care costs until Canada adopted its
medicare program – a single payer national health program administered
in each province. Figure 2 (at link below) demonstrates that, compared
to the United States, Canada has effectively bent the cost curved for
their entire national health expenditures.

Let's keep bending the Medicare cost curve, but not just for seniors and
people with disabilities. Let's bend it for all of us.

Comment: The full article explains how extending an improved Medicare
to everyone as a single payer system would finally achieve for us that
elusive goal of bending the cost curve - bringing the growth in health
care costs down to sustainable levels.

Just seeing the two graphs mentioned above would make clicking on the
link to the full article well worth your time. The concept is so
important that you should consider sharing it with others. Our nation
needs to understand that we can have an affordable, high quality health
care system that serves all of us well, but not if we don't change the
direction of reform.

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