Healthcare Reform? Not Likely with That Crowd

Just skimming Obama’s speech to the AMA, and this ‘graph stood out:

[efforts at comprehensive reform that covers everyone and brings down costs have largely failed. ] Part of the reason is because the different groups involved – physicians, insurance companies, businesses, workers, and others – simply couldn’t agree on the need for reform or what shape it would take.

No, part of the problem is that those are largely *not* the stakeholders here. Physicians? Sure. But insurance companies? They only have a “stake” here because we’ve let them. There are all sorts of scenarios that cut them out. They’re only at the table because we’ve allowed them to sit there and rake it in. They. Contribute. Nothing. Companies? Why are they relevant? Only because they’ve been forced to pick up the tab for your health care in return for getting discounts with the insurance industry and tax cuts; but in a rational world surely your health care and your employment would be entirely unrelated. Likewise, workers? What, in Obama’s world only workers are really allowed to get sick and obtain health care? So, their spouses and children are forced to rely on their employment for care? What about those who don’t work — either because they can’t (maybe they’re too sick — natch!), they’re students, they’re unemployed — whatever, they still citizens deserving of health care. Others? So, actual, you know, patients, potential patients, people who want preventitive care, they’re all reduced to “others”? Seems like a very shaky foundation upon which to base your reforms.

The AMA should be ashamed of themselves for opposing health care reform. Thankfully, they only represent a small minority of doctors, but they’re incredibly influential in DC and are in an incestuous relationship with the insurance industry that feeds them. The AMA is not the player to whom Obama should look for advice on reform. Sadly, they will most likely help him shift away from a sensible model that actually addresses the issue to one that merely window-dresses the issue. And we’ll all be the poorer — and sicker — for it.