Affordable Care Act – Some Perspective

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Affordable Care Act is reportedly about 2700 pages.    I wonder how many people have actually read the whole thing:  1,000, 10,000, ten?  Given its complexity, how can John or Jane Q Public hope to understand the issues at all?  It seems good to start with someone whose life’s work has been in the area of health care reform,  Stuart Altman.  He has been an adviser and architect of health care reform policy for five U.S. presidents — both Democrat and Republican.

In short, he figures to know as much as anyone about our health care controversy, so I have linked you to an 11 minute video interview of him, which figures to be more illuminating than anything I have say.  Still, that will not prevent me from adding my two cents (or maybe four if you figure inflation in) in future posts.

Here are a few points Altman makes in the video:

  • Developing a uniquely American health care system has been an evolutionary process beginning with President Teddy Roosevelt over 100 years ago.
  • While the Obama plan is based largely on the Romney plan in MA, both have their roots in a plan Altman worked on during the Nixon administration, which Senator Teddy Kennedy almost backed.
  • Most of the Obama’s program’s costs and benefits do not kick in until 2014.  Over a 10 year period additional costs are “projected” to be counter balanced by additional savings.
  • Even if  the ACA plan is rolled out as projected, more changes will need to occur in our health care system to really get costs under control.  A key to real savings is to replace the “fee-for-service” model now used, which rewards providers to simply do more. We need a model  with incentives to be more efficient and make better choices.

So, at your convenience take a gander at the video and I’ll see you Tuesday or whenever you get back.