Monday, February 11, 2008

Revitalizing primary care

A primary-care physician in New Hampshire recently had this to say:

“[Political candidates] talk about universal health insurance. But two of the greater issues would be cutting health-care costs and revitalizing primary care.

It's encouraging - though not all that surprising - that other commentators, especially health care professionals, share one of InsureBlog’s key insights – that health care cost is the primary driver of health insurance cost - and therefore the more fundamental issue demanding attention is the cost of health care.

I also agree 100% with the physician's second point - the need to revitalize primary care belongs at the center of any strategy to better manage the care Americans receive.

And beyond that, I believe improvements in managing care will result in better management of cost.

However, I'm doubtful that these changes will occur anywhere near as rapidly as even the present technology makes possible. My doubts spring from a belief that widespread and determined physician leadership is necessary to realize positive change - but we have not seen such leadership for at least the past 40 or so years. As I occasionally say, Moses found the way out of his Wilderness in 40 years. Yeah, health care may be tougher. But, still . . .

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