Friday :: Aug 24, 2007

Hillary And Health Care

by Jeff Dinelli

Hillary Clinton has had a lot of time to think about how to improve health care in this country. Since her task force was sabotaged before it was even given a chance to get off the ground by Republicans during her White House stint, the experience has stayed on her mind and now is her opportunity to try again, in a much bigger role. In June, she gave a speech that centered on reducing costs. Yesterday, she spoke in New Hampshire about quality, and in a couple of weeks, she plans on outlining her entire plan for providing universal health care that will be both affordable and accessible. This step-by-step approach has the effect of a slow drum roll, since everyone is waiting for her plan, due to her history with the subject, and since she realizes that domestically, this is the issue most people care about.

Details of yesterday's outline can be found here, but basically the idea is to set up doctor certification programs to help them keep up with the newest technologies, the incentive being increased Medicare reimbursements for those who participate and insurers rewarding those providers who make the effort to stay on top of things. Her plan would help the nursing profession with money, mentoring programs, and increasing minority enrollment to promote diversity. There is a nursing shortage currently, resulting in increased working hours and often questionable care. She wants to create a health care "quality database," which would help educate patients and families in an easy to navigate paperless system, another goal, since, as she notes, “While Amazon knows exactly what books you want and what movies you like, an emergency room doctor might not know what medications you are taking or even what blood type you are.”

Her universal plan is not going to be a single-payer government system, but may expand Medicare and let people join the federal employee insurance program. She also doesn't want to restrict choices, considering allowing people to purchase insurance from out-of-state companies.

One thing she knows from experience is that it's not wise to just say we're gonna go ahead and institute this or that plan, like other candidates are doing. It's much more complicated. "You've gotta get the votes," she said later at a house party in Concord. "You've got to compromise, which is not a word people in a Democratic primary like to hear because we want to think we can go and do exactly what we believe in make it happen. The fact is, you can't."

Jeff Dinelli :: 9:38 AM :: Comments (24) :: Digg It!