Ceasefire? I doubt it.

  • by: |
  • 10/12/2006
Yesterday I was privileged to participate in the latest in a series of Senator John Breaux’s “Ceasefire” debates. (Ceasefire events bring together a variety of speakers with opposing viewpoints in an effort to find common ground. Past speakers include former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former Secretaries of HHS Donna Shalala and Tommy Thompson, Press Secretaries Ari Fleischer and Mike McCurry, and former Senators Tom Daschle and Ron Nickles. The Ceasefire on Healthcare series is made possible by a grant from Pfizer Inc.)

I was paired with David Kendall, Senior Fellow for Health Policy and Director of the Health Priorities Project at the Progressive Policy Institute.

We had, what’s the right word here, a robust conversation. The entire debate will shortly be posted (as a podcast) at http://www.ceasefireonhealthcare.org/podcast, but I wanted to share two things that seemed especially germane and interesting –

(1) We debated whether or not physician “pay-for-performance” is a good thing. (My position is that it all depends on what “performance” means.) Consider this – if we limit what medicines doctors can prescribe based on cost-centric rather than patient-centric models, how can we possibly measure “performance” outcomes?

(2) Senator Breaux asked if we thought health care would play a major role in the up coming Presidential election. David said, “yes.” I said “no.”

If the current debate over health care is any indication, what we’re in store for is too many months of sounds bites, finger pointing, and pharma bashing.

And that is not a debate over health care.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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