Cost Containment

The Columbia Journalism Review has an interview with Medicare expert Marilyn Moon, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, and a former trustee of the Medicare system:

“No one has really solved the cost containment problem in this country, but Medicare has done as well as any other effort. Rising costs are not a Medicare problem but a health system problem. We have not been willing to make sure we are getting value for the dollars we spend. We have not been spending money wisely. Until everyone-providers, patients, and others who have a stake in manufacturing drugs, devices, new treatments-becomes realistic in what the system will bear, we are not going to see any reduction in the growth of health care spending.”

Medicynical Note: What will get their attention? Patent reform? The threat of a single provider system? Increased regulation of insurers? More out of pocket expenses (HSA’s)? What’s clear is something needs to be done. LBJ had an approach: “Son, it’s really simple. You grab ’em firmly by the balls. Their hearts and minds will follow.”

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