Category: Health Care

Consumerism: The Cure for Health Care’s Ills

By Ronald E. Bachman  Megatrends represent major movements so powerful that the direction of change cannot be stopped. Federal laws can speed up or slow down megatrend forces. But, like dammed rivers, megatrends will redirect themselves to achieve the inevitable result. Health care consumerism is such a force. Government and the quest for political power is a strong force in and of itself.  Cynics will point to increasing demands for federal support and government dependency by large parts of our population. That may be a current political direction, but growing welfare and expanding entitlements is not a financially sustainable path and therefore cannot be a megatrend. ObamaCare is fighting health care consumerism and broad cultural movements to personal responsibility, individual… View Article
  By Ronald E. Bachman   At the invitation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a dozen American policy wonks from differing perspectives traveled to Germany in December 2009. The Foundation was interested in our observations of the German social health system. My interest was how consumerism and individual choice worked in Germany.   We listened to federal and state officials, doctors, hospital executives, members of the Bundestag (German parliament, a health journalist and German policy experts. They told us that the German system is the fourth most expensive system in the world. Their costs are rising rapidly and are unsustainable. I listened from the perspective of a patient and a consumer wanting access to care, choice of providers, medical information and quality… View Article
By John C. Goodman There are 78 million baby boomers and a very large number of them have retirement on their minds. If the past is a guide, more than 80 percent of them will retire before they become eligible for Medicare (at age 65). Although about one-third of U.S. workers have a promise of post-retirement health care from an employer, almost none of these promises are funded and, as is the case of the automobile companies, are likely to be broken in whole or in part. As a result, millions of retirees will find themselves buying their own insurance in the individual market. There they will face some unpleasant realities, which for many of them may come as a… View Article

Health Care: From ‘No Way’ to ‘Now What?’

By Ronald E. Bachman In polls and elections, a majority of Americans said “No!” to federal health care legislation, but it passed anyway. Most still want it repealed, but the time has come to plan ahead and prepare for a very different future. Even as lawyers and politicians consider “repeal and replace” reform initiatives, individuals and business must consider the impact of the new law and employers and benefit managers must move to implement. Employers have two major needs. First, senior management must be alert to the many changes that are still likely to happen that may alter their strategic benefit planning. Second, benefit managers need to know what to do tactically today and tomorrow in order to prepare for… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman  A multi-state market attractive to insurers selling new, lower-cost comprehensive products is a market-based tool that states can embrace without the heavy hand of federal intervention. In Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue is showing the way on how to implement such cross-state sales through individual health insurance. States can voluntarily enter into reciprocity agreements with like-minded states.   The cross-state concept has been accepted by Republicans and Democrats as a good starting point for national bipartisan reform. Studies have shown that up to 12 million Americans would become insured with effective national legislation for cross-state selling. While Congress debates, however, Governor Perdue innovates.  His push for free-market insurance reform is embodied in bills making their way through Georgia’s… View Article

Ten Easy Reforms to Cover Preexisting Conditions

By John C. Goodman Most current proposals for dealing with the problems of preexisting conditions would completely divorce health insurance premiums from expected health care costs. Yet a policy of trying to force health plans to take enrollees they do not want risks jeopardizing the quality of care people receive. Instead of suppressing the price system, there are 10 ways that make greater use of the price mechanism. In a reformed health care system, the chronically ill, along with their doctors, their employers and their insurers, should all find lower-cost, higher-quality, more-accessible care to be in their economic self-interest. Encourage portable insurance. In almost every state, employers are not allowed to buy the kind of insurance most employees want and… View Article
By Tom Greene As Georgia struggles to climb out of the economic morass, it will take a new breed of leaders to recognize that the economic future of the state lies not in manufacturing, agriculture or military contracting but in biotechnology research.  Clinical trials of new medications or cutting-edge medical device technology offer unparalleled opportunities to bring research dollars, venture capital funds, free health care and, most importantly, jobs to our region. Georgia ranks 17th in the nation for active recruiting of Phase I clinical trials.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 17.8 percent of Georgians have no health insurance.  While Georgia watches Washington try to determine the fate of health care reform, the state can provide health care to… View Article
By Charles Romano and Ross Mason Biotechnology research is emerging in Georgia through a financially buoyant and talented pool of professionals who bring great science, technology and jobs to the state. This industry is typically cost-effective for medical innovation while exploring novel products that can save millions of lives. Speaking at the launch of a Georgia-grown research partnership recently, Gov. Sonny Perdue noted, “This partnership demonstrates the strengths Georgia provides industry through collaborations among its research universities, health care organizations and the Georgia Research Alliance.” This clear endorsement, combined with a relatively low cost of living compared to other states, should position Georgia high on the list of clinical research projects awarded each year. How does Georgia rank for exposure View Article

Shifting the Health Care Debate from Irate to Ideas

By Ronald E. Bachman  Americans are clearly angry about the policies and politics of Washington, D.C., and the Tea Party movement has led the way, uniting the silent majority and giving renewed voice to American principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. More people see that the proposals of 2009 were not about health or health care but about centralized power, increased bureaucracies and expanded political control.   But, being against something is always easier than knowing what to be for. The challenge now is to shift from irate to ideas, from success to significance. “Tea Party Patriots” can remain a movement against selected policies or grow into a movement that promotes common principles and/or specific policies. It need not… View Article
By Jacob Shmukler Forcing every American to buy health insurance is a key component of both House and Senate health care legislation that will be merged into a single bill in the coming months. The logic behind the individual mandate is rather simple: To eliminate the problem of health insurance companies denying applicants based on pre-existing conditions, ban them from doing so. But to make sure that people do not wait until they are sick to purchase insurance, force everyone to do that now. Aside from the obvious problem many Americans may have with banning private companies from behaving in their own self-interest – and earning outrageous 3 percent profit margins in the meantime – while forcing people to purchase… View Article

To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.

The late W. H. Flowers, Jr., Chairman, Flowers industries, Inc. more quotes