Charlie Gibson sure does love him some old-fashioned “President Obama, when will you stop beating your
wife for-profit insurance companies?” repetition, doesn’t he?
On the other hand, I think Obama did an excellent job of going right over the heads of Gibson and such hostile questioners as the head of the AMA and the insurance lobbyists, hammering the fact that nobody considers our current system viable, that even people who are satisfied with their personal health plans today won’t stay satisfied as premium costs continue to rise 9% a year, and that (at a conservative estimate) some 30% of current health spending is simply wasted.
Atul Gawande’s recent New Yorker article The Cost Conundrum has become a very Hot Topic, according to the media. I’ve been reading Gawande’s books, COMPLICATIONS and BETTER: A SURGEON’S NOTES ON PERFORMANCE, and trying to write a review more coherent than “Read these! Damn fine!” Large chunks of both books originally appeared in the New Yorker, but reading or re-reading essays on everything from surgical training at one of America’s best hospitals, to the fieldwork behind the attempt to eliminate polio, to the amazing advances (and failures) in trauma medicine during our latest military adventures in Iraq & Afghanistan really provides a new perspective.