Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Left Missing in Action: Nobody should get between you and your doctor

One of the GOP mantras re health reform (listen to Grassley et. al.) is that Americans don't want government bureaucrats to come between them and their doctors - which is why we should oppose single-payer and a public option and comparative effectiveness.

The most frustrating thing about this mantra is the almost total lack of response by the so-called liberal media and Democrats.

We already have bureaucrats getting between patients and their doctors. They are employed by private health insurance companies. Thousands (tens of thousands? millions?) of them are employed to deny coverage to patients. Some doctors spend 20% of their time arguing with these people.

Now, I agree with the basic premise. Health care decisions should be between patients and their doctors - but if somebody has to get in between the two in order to reduce overall health expenditures, I'd rather it be a civil servant who can't be fired for saying "yes" (and who may rely on comparative effectiveness research rather than cost) than a private insurance company employee whose salary depends on reducing costs and increasing the bottom line.

Please explain to me, somebody please explain, why this very simple and accurate response to this frequently repeated Conservative canard seems to be almost completely lacking from the health care debate.

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