I posted the following comment. It was rejected. I went back and posted again, leaving out the first paragraph. It appears that was OK.
(I have a long struggle going on with NPR. They claim to be “neutral”, but can’t see their own blindness. I’ve written directly to many of the program hosts – deaf ears.)
Here’s my original post:
Another disappointing article from NPR. Why are you not able to present the BIG PICTURE? Why do you leave out the history behind this issue? And, why the biased language? A FIX that lasts; FLAWED FORMULA; DRACONIAN CUTS; cuts that could cause SENIORS to lose access to their doctors.
This report should have been titled: Congress Still Clueless About Solving U.S. Exorbitant Healthcare Cost. Despite all the claims that the U.S. is a free market, the cost of healthcare in the U.S. is directly controlled by the business rules set up by the government. Our care is now more than 3 times higher than any other developed country. The problem took center stage after the Vietnam War ended. Congress took it on with Diagnostic Related Group pricing in the 80’s, and HMOs in the 90’s. After bungling both, congress was out of ideas. What did they decide? They admitted, admirably, that they didn’t know how to control costs. But they did know who was responsible for them: Doctors and Hospitals. So, the SGR was created as a gradual payment reduction approach to pressure them into finding a solution. The objective was to force doctors and hospitals to face up to their role in controlling healthcare costs and get their act together. After all, how many times have we been told, “who knows better than DOCTORS how to manage healthcare.”
Enter POLITICS! As soon as the SGR was passed, all the medical lobbies converged on DC. And one by one, the politicians caved in. 16 times now, they have kicked the SGR can down the road. The SGR is NOT a flawed formula; the cuts are NOT draconian; and the results are NOT seniors losing access to their docs. Cuts twice the SGR are needed just to compete with the next lower cost country. Stopping the SGR is just sticking our heads in the ground to ignore the COST issue. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor the former fee for service approach can work without MAJOR cost reductions. And NOTHING NPR (or any other major news network) is reporting faces this issue head on. Do solutions exist? All over the place. The one at http://www.a3society.org/FixingMedicine ( which is my proposal ) could actually leapfrog the U.S. to a world leading position. But this can’t happen as long as the U.S. government remains a shadow autocracy for the leaders of the U.S. military-academic-financial-industrial complex.