File this under “defensive cooperation”:
The nation’s hospitals agreed last night to contribute $155 billion over 10 years toward the cost of insuring the 47 million Americans without health coverage, according to two industry sources.
The agreement that three hospital associations reached with White House officials and leaders of the Senate Finance Committee is the latest in a series of side deals that aim to reduce the cost of revamping the nation’s health-care system and to neutralize influential industries that have historically opposed such reforms.
What if this were the endgame from the beginning? The end may look very much like the public-private partnerships I suspect would be most effective at getting the system under control–and in line with where such a powerful country’s general level of health should reasonably be.
Of course, PhRMA is playing its own game in preserving the status quo–or as much of it as can be preserved. Despite a pledge of US$80B toward a new system, the industry knows how to play the influence game. Also, 155+80=235, which is about US$765B ahead of the estimates of what it would cost to get to full coverage in the US. With two of the biggest players having placed their bids, it’s hard to imagine who other than government can come up with that kind of cabbage.
By the way, I don’t entirely buy the US$1T figure. Surely a collaborative, innovative approach can do better than that.