Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obama's Health Care Press Conference

This past Wednesday night President Obama gave a press conference focused on explaining his health care reform package (although the news on Thursday and Friday was dominated by coverage of his response to the Henry Louis Gates question).

The conventional wisdom is that Obama underperformed during the press conference in terms of sustaining // increasing momentum for getting a bill passed.

David Wellna
, on yesterday's Friday News Roundup, gave the best recent explanation I've heard for why Obama is running into trouble promoting his plan: it's not at all clear what the "plan" is. In other words, Obama has expressed such a willingness to be flexibile in responding to what Congress produces that it's not clear which core ideas and reforms he is actually advocating for.
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This morning's New York Times has a front page article, by Gardiner Harris, about Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, New York. Like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic (both of which are getting tons of attention the past couple of weeks), Bassett pays its doctors salaries rather than on the much-criticized fee-for-service model. The article -- like much recent commentary -- says that systemic reform requires moving away from the fee-for-service model, which leads to too many unnecessary/wasteful procedures.

259. What is the AMA's position on reform proposals that move away from fee-for-service? The media seems to assume that this system is too engrained to actually change on a broad scale, but why is that -- who are the lobbying/interest groups that are advocating most strongly in favor of a fee-for-service system?

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