Monday, January 11, 2010

The Health Care Proposal, Again

This stuck in my eye while reading the Wonk Room:

As the Washington Post's Ceci Connely explained recently during an appearance on MSNBC, "one of the things I would suggest is not just how much we spend on health care because as a wealthy nation, maybe we want to spend a lot, but the problem really is we're not getting much bang for our buck. We're not getting our money's worth. And the real question about this piece of legislation is how much it will be able to improve the quality of care so that we start getting our money's worth."

It's not incorrect to want higher quality of care. After all, the three overall goals of any health care system should be the highest possible quality at the lowest possible cost to the largest possible number of the people it is intended to serve. That these three goals might sometimes be in conflict is pretty obvious. What should also be obvious is that the health care reform proposal now under discussion isn't really aimed at the first of these goals but the latter two.

Yes, it has parts which specifically aim to increase the quality of health care through greater use of technology, for example. But its main aim is in increasing access to care for those who are currently uninsured and its secondary goal is to contain costs (assuming that would be possible).