But How Much Will It Cost?

David Leonhardt looks at the cost-containment measures in the health-care bill: "It is abundantly clear that our medical system wastes enormous amounts of money on health care that doesnt make people healthier. Hospitals that practice more intensive medicine, to take one example, get no better results than more conservative hospitals, research shows. And while the insured receive better care and are healthier than the uninsured, the lavishly insured those households with so-called Cadillac plans are not better off than households with merely good insurance."Yet every time Congress comes up with an idea for cutting spending, the cry goes out: Patients will suffer! Youre cutting bone, not fat!"How can this be? How can there be billions of dollars of general waste and no specific waste? There cant, of course." And he looks at some of the measures that might help medical-care containment. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/health/policy/09leonhardt.html?hpIn the New Yorker, Antul Gawande says: "The health-care bill has no master plan for curbing costs. Is that a bad thing?" He goes on to offer an example of how the U.S. Department of Agriculture contained food costs from the early 20th century on by helping farmers to be more efficient and effective. He thinks this might work for medical care. I suspect Leonhardt would be skeptical.Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/12/14/091214fa_fact_gawande#ixzz0ZDPxFssH

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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