A Must See

Watch  the 1 hour full video of “The Battle Over Health Care” on C-SPAN Book TV here or here – a must see.

President Obama’s health care overhaul was  the most substantial health care reform in almost half a century. Drawing on decades of experience in health care policy, health care delivery reform, and economics, Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh provide a non-partisan analysis of the reform and what it means for America and the its future. The authors show how health care reform was enacted only with the consent of health insurance companies, drug firms, device manufacturers, hospitals, and other special interests that comprise the medical-industrial complex to gain millions of new customers.  Gibson explains:

  • Health care businesses in a market-oriented system are designed to generate revenue, running counter to affordable health care.
  • There are great similarities between the health care industry and the unfettered banking and financial sector: Health care has its own price bubbles, conflicts of interest, and too-big-to-fail syndrome.
  • Deals were struck with insurers, drug companies and hospitals, and Americans could have gotten a better deal.
  • Rising health care costs will bankrupt the United States.
  • The health care reform law does not stop the rise in private health insurance company premiums.
  • A 60-year-old uninsured person earning $48,000 a year will pay about $10,000 a year for health insurance to comply with the mandate.
  • A fast-changing global economy will shape the future of employer-provided insurance more than the health care reform law.

Health care expert Gibson and World Bank economist Singh present a well-argued view that the Affordable Care Act reforms increase insurers’ market share, giving them access to 16 million new customers beginning in 2014, but proposed subsidies for individual insurance policies may simply foster greater demand, enabling continuing cost increases. By 2030, the authors estimate that health care will consume 25% of the country’s income, and comprehensive insurance will be unaffordable, even with subsidies. They prescribe tackling the enormous inefficiencies in the health care system, including overutilization and fraud in health care spending.

The Battle Over Health Care is divided into five parts.

  • Initially, the authors describe the process by which the dominant players in the health-care industry wrangled favorable concessions from congress and the White House.
  • The next part explains how the current health-care system is deficient in providing quality, affordable health care to Americans and how it will be overwhelmed by the demands of the newly insured.
  • Section three compares the health-care system to Wall Street, wherein Gibson and Singh indict the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, and health insurance companies for being more interested in profits than in delivering better health care to patients. For all the money spent on health care in the United States, life expectancy is no better than that of Cuba.
  • In Section four, Gibson and Singh take on conventional wisdom, dealing with the relationship of the national debt to health-care costs. They assert: Progress to reduce the ominous burden of the federal debt can be made only if health-care spending is reduced.
  • In the final part the case is made for real reform in the health-care system. Gibson and Singh propose ten steps toward that end, including authorizing the federal government to negotiate drug prices and more regulation of the health-care industry patterned after that used for aviation and highway safety. The solution, they believe, is to reduce the health care industry’s dependency on the blind generosity of the public.

Rosemary Gibson is an author, speaker, and national leader in U.S. health care and the author with Janardan Prasad Singh of The  Battle Over Health Care: What Obama’s Reform Means for America’s Future,  a non-partisan analysis of the reform and what it means for America and the its future. As Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey for sixteen years, Rosemary was chief architect of its $200 million national strategy to establish palliative care in the mainstream of the U.S. health care system. Now, more than 1400 hospitals have palliative care programs, an increase from about 10 in the 1990s. She was honored as the recipient of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.Gibson worked with Bill Moyers and Public Affairs Television on the PBS documentary, “On Our Own Terms,” which showed to more than 20 million viewers how the U.S. health care system can better care for seriously ill patients and their families. She supported the work of nurse and physician leaders who launched faculty development programs in palliative care, revised medical and nursing textbooks to include the care of dying patients, expanded palliative care content on medical and nursing licensing exams, and initiated a series in the Journal of the American Medicinal Association, “Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life.”She has made her mark as a national leader in patient safety.

Rosemary is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Wall of Silence, which contains narratives of patient experience with medical errors. The book tells the human story behind the Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human. Wall of Silence was reviewed in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Health Affairs, referenced in proceedings of the U.S. Senate, mentioned in Congressional testimony, noted in The Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe, and highlighted in the anniversary issue of O Magazine.

She is also the author of The Treatment Trap, which puts a human face on the overuse of unnecessary medical treatment. For policymakers in the White House and Congress who are reforming health care, it offers a ten-step recovery plan to pay for health care reform wil also improving care and reducing harm from overuse. For consumers, it offers twenty smart steps to avoid overuse.Rosemary has given keynote presentations to health care professionals that provide the perspective from the other side of the bedrails, of patients and families, on the urgency of patient safety.
In academic settings, Rosemary has been a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Graduate School of Health Administration, Loyola University School of Law, the Dartmouth Clinical Microsystem Symposium, and Georgetown University and the National Board of Medical Examiners, among others.Earlier in her career, Gibson served as Senior Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization; as Vice President of the Economic and Social Research Institute, a policy think tank; and as consultant to the Medical College of Virginia and the Virginia state legislature’s Commission on Health Care. She also served as a volunteer and Board member at a free medical clinic in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and has a master’s degree from The London School of Economics.

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