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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Obamacare’s Other Surprise": Surprise, surprise, surprise . . .

Although he is unwilling to go on record as to whether the Affordable Care Act is or is not going to prove a "train wreck," Thomas Friedman, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Obamacare’s Other Surprise" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opinion/sunday/friedman-obamacares-other-surprise.html), gushes:

"But there is one area where the law already appears to be surprising on the upside. And that is the number of health care information start-ups it’s spurring. This is a big deal.

The combination of Obamacare regulations, incentives in the recovery act for doctors and hospitals to shift to electronic records and the releasing of mountains of data held by the Department of Health and Human Services is creating a new marketplace and platform for innovation — a health care Silicon Valley — that has the potential to create better outcomes at lower costs by changing how health data are stored, shared and mined. It’s a new industry."

A whole new industry moving information out of "manila folders in doctors' offices" and into "electronic files"? Is this a key byproduct of Obamacare, or is this simply part of the medical industry's transition into the 21st Century?

Don't get me wrong. Data mining? I'm all for it. In fact, it could and should be used to combat aggressively health care fraud, which costs the US some $80 billion annually (see: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/health-care-fraud).

Computerized programs, adapted to standardized treatment for specific medical conditions, would have little difficulty pointing to anomalies. The system could be up and running in months.

In addition, penalties for health care fraud could be stiffened, causing those with thoughts of bilking the system to reconsider the consequences of their actions.

It could even help make the Affordable Care Act . . . affordable.

Meanwhile, however, as reported by The Hill (http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/300881-labor-unions-break-ranks-on-health-law#ixzz2TvBNAzaD):

"Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare.

Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic."

And according to the results of a recent Associated Press-GfK poll (see: http://news.yahoo.com/poll-trust-government-obama-approval-slip-164950163--politics.html):

"With more and more components of the 2010 'Obamacare' health law taking effect, 41 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of health care. That's the lowest level during his time in office."

These are not happy times for the president.


1 comment:

  1. In Year 6 of MassHealth, turns out that electronic prescriptions actually consist of an e-fax to the pharmacy, with ZERO feedback if there is any mistake, e.g., sent to the wrong pharmacy.
    And I pay cash for my prescriptions - have yet to get through even a simple renewal without a mistake that an e-fax will never catch.

    Massachusetts is still considered home of advanced medical technologies, yet I just spent four months begging to get my e-file corrected, yet still have zero access to what they have in their e-file of my complex medical history.

    K2K

    ReplyDelete