Hardly A Surprise: Health Care Reform Good For Business, Bad For Insurance Companies

A report from the Business Roundtable finds that health care reform will be good for business. They support much of what is in the health care reform bills but disagree on some points . They do not support the public option and they want to go further than the current legislation does to attempt to have the government control health care decisions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of major U.S. companies, released a report that stated that without changes to the current U.S. health-care system, costs would rise to $28,530 per employee. But the “right legislative reforms” would reduce those costs by more than $3,000 per employee, according to the report…

President Barack Obama in a statement said the report “underscores what experts and businesspeople have told us all along–comprehensive health insurance reform is one of the most important investments we can make in American competitiveness.”

A statement from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D, Mont.) states that the report “adds to the evidence that the bottom line is on the line for businesses in health reform.”

The report points to a number of possible changes included in some form in House and Senate health-care bills to make health spending based more on quality than quantity and improve prevention and wellness efforts. One example is payment “bundling” to doctors and hospitals, which would provide a single payment for all services related to a treatment or condition.

Another bright spot cited by the report is a section in legislation approved by the Senate Finance Committee that would design a system of “value-based” payments from Medicare to doctors and hospitals. The proposed system would base some payment rates on quality measures.

Ivan Seidenberg, chairman of the Business Roundtable and chairman and chief executive of Verizon Communications Inc., in a statement cited a need to “make sure we improve, not erode, U.S. competitiveness.”

“We can do that by implementing the broad-based delivery system reforms approved by the Senate Finance Committee and avoiding ill-advised proposals such as the public option,” Mr. Seidenberg said.

But the report states that the current bills “are missing some ingredients” to permanently draw down future growth in health costs. The report commends the bills’ provisions on “comparative effectiveness research,” which evaluates the effectiveness of treatment and therapies, but states that “we must find ways” to encourage health-care providers to adhere to evidence-based guidelines on care.

The desire to regulate treatment decisions which is not in government regulation is consistent with current trends in health care. While conservatives worry about a government take over of health care, it is typically insurance companies and not government which interferes in the doctor-patient relationship. While it is desirable that results of comparative effectiveness research be voluntarily used by physicians, it is dangerous to write this into law. Decisions in the cases of individual patients who have multiple medical problems often legitimately vary from generic practice guidelines which are usually written based upon a single disease state. The physician, and not insurance companies, businessmen, or government bureaucrats must make the ultimate decisions. Fortunately the current health care legislation avoids any acts to place bureaucrats between doctors and patients, despite the claims from the right.

Even though health care reform might be good for business, some pro-business groups still plan to spend millions on ads opposing health care reform.

There is one business which benefits by preserving the status quo–the insurance industry. An analysis from Goldman Sachs found that the insurance companies would profit the most from preventing any form of reform. If health care reform does pass, they are projected to do better if there is no public option. No wonder the health insurance industry has been working so hard to provide all those bogus talking points for the right wing to use.

Jon Stewart Watches Sean Hannity Admit He Screwed Up

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Apologizes to Jon
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Jon Stewart’s coverage of Sean Hannity’s admission that he was wrong and Stewart was right in his recent item showing how Hannity used faked video to exaggerate the turn out at a protest against health care reform.

9/11 Mastermind To Be Tried in Manhattan

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has admitted to being the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorists attacks, is to be tried by a civilian court in lower Manhattan. Trying him around the scene of the crime raises thoughts of some creative forms of punishment assuming he is convicted. For example, there’s Josh Lyman’s idea from Issac and Ishmeal, the episode of The West Wing which dealt with the 9/11 attack:

I’d put ’em in a small cell, and make them watch home movies of the birthdays and baptisms
and weddings of every single person they killed, over and over, every day, for the rest
of their lives. And then they’d get punched in the mouth every night
at bedtime. By a different person, every night. There’d be a long list of volunteers…

RNC Insurance Plan Covered Abortions

One of the ideas behind the Democratic heath care reform plans is to allow all Americans to have the type of choice which members of Congress have. John Kerry’s health care plan explicitly called for this in 2004, and the current health care plan offers those in the individual market similar choices through the exchanges which are to be developed.

The Republican strategy on health care is to deny others they choices they have. Conservatives added an amendment which would greatly restrict insurance coverage of abortions. In contrast, Politico has found that the insurance plan offered to employees of the Republican National Committee has covered abortions.

The RNC has subsequently announced that they will drop this coverage after news came out about this on Thursday.