Blog | Friday, May 15, 2009

More about the benjamins.

Yesterday's discussion at SGIM centered on health care costs, and assumed that some kind of reform is coming, but both Bob Brook and Albert Siu avoided the issue of whether the new system should be single- or multi-payer. That contentious topic was the focus of this morning's plenary session. Richard Epstein, a law professor, and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, each presented their views and then responded to questions from the audience. Their conclusions were pretty stark. Dr. Woolhandler, who comes from Massachusetts argued (and presented evidence) that the mandated coverage plan that her state has enacted and Obama is considering only makes health care worse and less accessible. She sees single-payer as the only possible solution. Meanwhile, Prof. Epstein said that single-payer would be a costly, bureaucratic disaster and that the only solution is an entirely free-market health care system. The poor and uninsured can get their lower quality health care from Wal-Mart, just as they do other goods and services, he said. As you might guess, that was not a popular suggestion with the audience.