Thursday, March 19, 2009

Want Your Healthcare To Be Like the Post Office? So Does the DMCB and Here's Why

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times implores us to rethink our reliance on 'The Daily Me' by regularly sampling media that is contrary to our beliefs. The Disease Management Care Blog endorses that point of view entirely, which is why it pauses regularly on HBO's swarmy smirking Bill Maher whenever it can. The DMCB thinks he uses Mad Money's Jim Cramer's playbook: try to be taken seriously but if called out, refer to yourself in the end as an 'entertainer.'

Check out the video below and decide if this is serious policy or merely entertainment.:

The DMCB appreciates the point, but isn't sure a 42 cent stamp is a good comparison. It may be possible to get the note cross country in an even shorter period of time, but we can't assess that because of the United States Postal Service's (USPS') monopoly on standard postage items.

But how about larger packages that, like patients, vary in size, weight and delivery needs ? Unlike Mr. Mahar, the DMCB has had personal experience in standing in line at the local post office with a large package versus going a little further down the road and using Federal Express on one side versus using United Parcel Service on the other. It thinks there's a big difference. The DMCB isn't alone either: according to Consumer Reports, the post office isn't the no brainer choice that Mr. Mahar makes it out to be.

The DMCB also suspects the USPS' willingness to take credit cards, provide shipping boxes on site and accomodate other special requests is thanks to the competition from the likes of FedEx. That's why there may be merit in the idea of a 'Medicare like' public insurer as a part of health reform - but not for the widely accepted rationale.

To paraphrase the Wall Street Journal editorialists, the Healthcare 'Political Class' would tell you Medicare For All is needed to provide competition to the private insurers. The DMCB thinks they have it backwards. If a public plan passes as part of heatlh reform, it is the private insurers that will, like FedEx and UPS, force the public option to be a better health plan.

Hat tip: The Health Care Blog

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