California Could Be Example of Health Care Reform Efforts
The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday published two opinion pieces addressing the future of health care system reform.
"Reining in health care spending would require wrenching cultural changes," Arnold King, an author and economist, writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. Instead of a market- or government-based approach to health care, which "are not well understood by policy makers or the general public," a "better plan would be to experiment with different approaches at the state level," according to King.
King suggests that California "could be one of the states that attempts to experiment with a single-payer system," although his "guess is that single-payer will require enormous tax increases and ruin the state's economy."
According to King, "[m]ore people ... need to be better educated concerning the trends, constraints and trade-offs involved in health policy." He adds, "An issue as challenging as health care requires a conversation, not a confrontation" (King, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/1).
"[E]lectronic health records and health information technology are poised to be transformational elements of our health care system," Jo Ellen Ross, chair of the California Regional Health Information Organization board of directors and CEO and president of Lumetra, writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. According to Ross, IT "is woefully absent in far too much of health care delivery."
The effort by CalRHIO to "build a statewide system for exchanging health care information" is one of several initiatives nationwide that are working to exchange patient information "when and where patients and their doctors need it," Ross writes. She adds, "By leveraging this region's technology leadership, California can be an example to the nation of how to ensure patient safety and achieve the new American dream -- better health care for all" (Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/1).