Mar­ket-based ap­proach

Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS LETTERS - Rita Nu­mer of Nu­mer of & As­so­ci­ates St. Louis

Re­gard­ing An­dis Robeznieks’ in­ter­view with Paul Ryan (“Ryan: Plan is bi­par­ti­san”), we have ap­plauded Paul Ryan in his ef­forts to sen­si­bly re­form health­care in the U.S. in the past, and we agree that a mar­ket-based for­mula will be the best way to go for­ward. In a po­lit­i­cal cli­mate of fly­ing rhetoric and ac­cu­sa­tions, it’s note­wor­thy when calm and rea­son pre­vail. When self-in­ter­est is ram­pant, of­ten cloaked in holier-than-thou procla­ma­tions, sim­plic­ity and com­pelling logic of­fer a wel­come respite.

The Wy­den-Ryan plan, “Guar­an­teed Choices to Strengthen Medi­care and Health Se­cu­rity for All,” was re­mark­able in a num­ber of ways. Its ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary was three pages in length. The pro­posal was nine pages. The doc­u­ment was clear, to the point, com­pelling, log­i­cal and in­sight­ful. It was read­able and de­void of jar­gon and pol­icy-speak, ac­ces­si­ble to “ev­ery man” and chal­lenged par­ti­san at­tacks and as­sump­tions. It’s a sad com­men­tary on the na­tional de­bate sur­round­ing the topic of health­care (no, a de­bate is far more rea­soned, fact-based and thought­ful on the is­sues) that these pos­i­tive char­ac­ter­i­za­tions are so spe­cial, in part, be­cause what’s rep­re­sented by the doc­u­ment is so rare.

Last year’s pro­posal rep­re­sented a se­ri­ous ef­fort at pre­sent­ing a frame­work for rea­soned dis­course to solve a very old prob­lem. The Wy­den-Ryan plan has more po­ten­tial im­pact in its 12 pages than Obama care had in its 2,700, pre­cisely be­cause it did not at­tempt to pre­scribe, but in­stead en­abled mar­ket forces to re­shape the cur­rent sys­tem. By tak­ing a mar­ket-based ap­proach to re­form­ing health­care, we can be­gin to ad­dress the fun­da­men­tal is­sues fac­ing the sec­tor to­day and em­bed the kind of ac­count­abil­ity that’s needed to drive bet­ter health­care at lower costs.

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Will Paul Ryan take read­ers’ com­ments to heart? One cites the weak­nesses in his Medi­care re­form plan; an­other ap­plauds it.

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