The Battle Over Health Care : What Obama's Reform Means for America's Future
Overview - As the most substantial health care reform in almost half a century, President Obama's health care overhaul was as historic as it was divisive. In its aftermath, the debate continues. Drawing on decades of experience in health care policy, health care delivery reform, and economics, Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh provide a non-partisan analysis of the reform and what it means for America and its future. Read more...
More About The Battle Over Health Care by Rosemary Gibson; Janardan Prasad Singh
As the most substantial health care reform in almost half a century, President Obama's health care overhaul was as historic as it was divisive. In its aftermath, the debate continues. Drawing on decades of experience in health care policy, health care delivery reform, and economics, Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh provide a non-partisan analysis of the reform and what it means for America and its future. The authors shine a light on truths that have been hidden behind a raucous debate marred by political correctness on both sides of the aisle. They show how health care reform was enacted only with the consent of health insurance companies, drug firms, device manufacturers, hospitals, and other special interests that comprise the medical-industrial complex, which gained millions of new customers with the stroke of a pen. Health care businesses in a market-oriented system are designed to generate revenue, which runs counter to affordable health care. Gibson and Singh take a broader perspective on health care reform not as a single issue but as part of the economic life of the nation. The national debate unfolded while the banking and financial system teetered on the brink of collapse. The authors trace uncanny similarities between the health care industry and the unfettered banking and financial sector. They argue that a fast-changing global economy will have profound implications for the country's economic security and the jobs and health care benefits that come with it, and they predict that global competition will shape the future of employer-provided insurance more than the health care reform law.
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Health care expert Gibson and World Bank economist Singh (coauthors of Wall of Silence) present a well-argued view that the heralded Obama health care reforms may be adverse to the public interest, since by “plowing even more funding into health care, the reform law cements inefficiency in the system.” The reforms increase insurers’ market share, giving them access to 16 million new customers beginning in 2014, but proposed subsidies for individual insurance policies simply foster greater demand, enabling continuing cost increases. By 2030, the authors estimate that health care will consume 25 percent of the country’s income, and comprehensive insurance will be unaffordable, even with subsidies. In passionate language, they prescribe possible remedies, but many are the usual suspects, for example, tackling fraud in health care spending. Meanwhile, the prognosis that the baby boomers will overwhelm Medicare might induce the despairing reader to take two aspirins. But don’t call the doctor in the morning; “a conservative estimate is that 225,000 people die every year from preventable harm in the health care system.” As one observer says: “‘They harm you and they bill you for it.’” (Apr.)