Obamacare

ObamaCare: "Springtime in Complexity Land"

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Jonathan Bush (cousin of the last president), who founded Athenanet, a company that electronically processes health care payments for medical providers, talks to The New York Times about medical entrepreneurship under the new health care law.

Q. What's the prognosis for bill collecting under health care reform?       
A. Well, there's going to be new connectors and a whole series of new insurance products that will be managed by the states' health insurance commissioners. And the law provides for every state to do all of these its own way, so they will have their own rules and regulations, and each state will do it differently. That sounds like springtime in Complexity Land.    

Q. What do you think will happen to the total cost of health care under reform?       
A. Oh, it's going to go through the roof! It's widely accepted that this is not a cost-reform bill — it's an access bill. It's in fact a cost-expansion bill.       

He is the borg.

Q. Last year, Dr. Atul Gawande made a pretty cogent case, writing in The New Yorker, not just that the small pilot projects in the reform would control costs but that they are the only way to control costs in an industry as sprawling as health care.        
A. I e-mail a lot with Atul and he's a product of the Borg, at some big institution, and thinks in terms of papers and grants from Washington. I totally agree that demonstration projects are what changes a market, but outside of the Borg, we call those businesses. I suppose Washington trying to be an innovator also is fine, but at some point the demonstration project is going to have to be consumers using their judgment about which things they want. [bold added]   

Right. On the one hand, the new law is probably going to create a lot of business opportunities for lawyers and document processors and various other minders who make sure that health care firms and insurance companies have all the proper paperwork is filled out and that all their day-to-day activity is regulation-friendly. But like tax compliance costs, that's something that policymakers ought to be working to reduce, not expand. The more time and effort that get spent working on ways to automate the regulatory compliance process, the fewer resources end up getting spent looking for ways to actually make medical care more efficient. The government's attempting to pick up some of the slack by playing innovator with its array of maybe-this'll-work pilot programs, but at the same time, it's also making it tougher for private innovators with provisions like the one that immediately bans expansion for doctor-owned hospitals.

NEXT: Whole Lotta Nothing In L.A.

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  1. You couldn’t have put up a picture of Seven of Nine?

    1. I picked up a delicious Stilton recently that looked like that.

  2. “The government’s attempting to pick up some of the slack by playing innovator with its array of maybe-this’ll-work pilot programs, but at the same time, it’s also making it tougher for private innovators ”

    They are never gonna get that car out of the ditch with one foot on the brake and the other on the gas.

    1. And it’s still in park besides.

  3. Cost of one bandage: $0.10

    Cost of compliance so that we could lawfully provide you with this bandage: $5.00

  4. Gee, UNreason is taking the advice of a discredited former president’s cousin. So much for not shilling for the Republicans.

      1. Oh, yeah, real mature. Typical childish libertarian.

        1. I know you are but what am i

          1. I’m being spoofed. I can’t understand how you are unable to tell the difference between me and the spoofers. The spoofers are stupid, smug, arrogant, self-righteous pricks.

            1. You’re assuming I can’t tell the difference.

    1. so..is the president discredited ? or the cousin. is he the cousin of a former president ? or the former cousin of a president ?

      1. Read the first of the post

        1. Whoosh (went right over your head)

    2. Yes, Tony, we all know that the sins of the fath…err…cousin shall be visited upon the cousin for three generations!

      1. I’ll bet Athenanet is somehow connected to Halliburton.

        1. Of course it is. How could it not be?

    3. So, what did he say that’s incorrect? Oh, that’s right. He’s related to a douche bag. That’s all you need to know.

  5. What about the other hand? Don’t leave us hanging!

  6. BREAKING NEWS!

    Florida Jesus bigot calls off Koran conflagration!
    FBI denies having anything to do with it.

    1. With one condition: “Ground Zero Mosque” must move. God himself has arranged this. Hallelujah! And praise Jesus!

  7. Honestly. The guy you’re taking your information from is a relative of the most fundamentalist free-marketeer to hold the presidency in the country’s history, and you’re acting as if he’s an objective source.

    1. and your guy is related to Dick Cheney. What’s your point?

    2. *And* he knows some guy who knows Alan Greenspan who once was acquainted with Ayn Rand!
      I mean how can anyone trust the guy!?

      1. This connection is way more direct than those connections, because I say it is.

    3. Ah yes, that great Democratic Party tradition of judging someone not by the content of his remark but by his genetic inheritance.

    4. The fundamentalist free-marketer who passed the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ?

      Up is down.

      Left is right.

  8. On the one hand, the new law is probably going to create a lot of business opportunities for lawyers and document processors and various other minders who make sure that health care firms and insurance companies have all the proper paperwork is filled out and that all their day-to-day activity is regulation-friendly. But like tax compliance costs, that’s something that policymakers ought to be working to reduce, not expand.

    Why would the Obama administration want to destroy jobs by reducing compliance costs? The extra expense of having to hire all those paper pushers will stimulate the economy!

  9. Hazel Meade! My Heinleinian arch-nemesis!

  10. I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by calling 877-882-4740 or check http://bit.ly/9fDY7U If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

  11. On the one hand, the new law is probably going to create a lot of business opportunities for lawyers

    Good times, good times.

    1. Every day is Lawyer Day.

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