Friday, May 22, 2009

What about the Patient?

All the talk about health care reform coming from all directions! There is President Obama’s proposal, which is simply a mantra to do something for the sake of change. But do what, we ask? We just get a list of platitudes!

Then there are the Doctors and Hospitals, the so called Providers. What do they offer? More platitudes, but with a twist… don’t create problems! This is their hymn for “stay out of our pockets.” As if we didn’t already have a problem?

Next the Insurers and Health Networks put in their two cents (including the government). They claim to be the payers of health care. Uh, really, are they? Where do they get their money to pay with? Their platitudes chant for cost controls! The government adds to the rhetoric, with universal coverage… NOW!

And not to be left behind, there are the technocrats, chomping at their bits for all those trillions of dollars to be spent. Clamoring… “Everything can be fixed if we only had electronic medical records.”

What we really have is a bag full of fighting cats. A lot of noise and if you get too close you’ll end up with nasty scratches.

So what is missing in all this empty discourse? Who will be affected by the hip-slinging proposals? Who will bear the brunt of the statistical one-upmanship? And most important, who will pay for it all?

Well it’s the PATIENT stupid! Isn’t the patient what it’s all about? Shouldn’t all others serve the patient, not their self-interests?

We need a fundamental principle from which to derive what can be done to reform health care in the US, and it isn’t inside that bag of angry cats. We need to define our health care system from within a single principle, and challenge health care purveyors and stakeholders to converge on getting us there.

So what is this principle? Be I so bold to suggest:

Empower the Patient to choose when and what to consume from a patient-centric, market driven health care delivery system.

All else will fall in its natural place!