Health Care policy has been an interest of mine for many years (wrote a paper in grad school in 1994) and I gravitate towards the stories that draw attention to our health care system. Full disclosure, I wish that the U.S. had a single payer system like virtually every other developed country. When I studied the issue back in grad school, the primary obstacles I saw were the cultural value/myth of individualism and personal responsibility and powerful corporate interests. Not much has changed and if anything, those voices are louder and the influence, stronger. The central purpose of my blog is not to convince anyone about the logic of any particular system, but to raise principle centered issues, concerns and questions.
Having grown up in Colorado, the first governor I remember was Richard Lamm, who served in that office for three terms from 1975 to 1987. I give credit to the governor stimulating an initial interest in health care policy when he suggested in a 1984 speech that terminally ill people had a “duty to die and get out of the way” rather than be kept alive by artificial means. He followed that with “Let our kids, the other society, build a reasonable life.” Not surprisingly, his statement created a lightning rod of controversy. During his terms as Governor of Colorado, he witnessed health care absorbing a larger and larger share of public resources. His statement was about the ethical aspects involved in those choices and drawing attention to how health care spending is relatively unquestioned and “off limits.” His ideas are expanded in the book “Brave New World of Health Care” and I will borrow generously from concepts presented in the book.
This past year, Time Magazine, devoted a special edition to the runaway costs of our healthcare system with the feature article “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us.” The 23 page expose’ removed the curtain behind the wizards pulling the levers that have created the health care system that is twice as expensive as anything else on the planet. Here is a link the article and related content: http://healthland.time.com/why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/.
In advance, I wanted to credit these thinkers and resources for a lot of what is to follow in this blog.