A much needed break

I know I haven’t been posting much lately.  I think I’ve just become a little burned out on the whole health care reform thing.

But today I was asked to be part of a panel for the medical students.  I teach this class on health policy and economics, but there is this (sorta related) panel they hold every year to discuss health care systems around the world.  They find doctors who have practiced in other systems and ask them to talk about them.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t find anyone to represent the United States.

The person in charge felt it was important to have someone say nice things about the US.  After sitting through my lectures, she feared that many of the students were getting despondent about the state of things.  I don’t necessarily see a problem with that, but evidently the students needed a little pick me up.

So she asked me to do it.

Asking me to be the “GO USA!” guy when it comes to health care systems is pretty humorous.  But, I felt obligated to say yes.

And, you know, there are good things about the US health care system.  We have some of the finest physicians in the world.  We have many of the best hospitals in the world.  I think that you could put up the medical education here, at all levels, against any other country.  Our technology is excellent.  Our drugs work just as well here as anywhere else.

Our over-focus on sub-specialty care has resulted in our being the best at cutting edge procedures and caring for rare and difficult illnesses.  We spend a lot of money on research, which benefits everyone.

I likened our system to an unbelievably awesome lego set that was assembled by a small child who lost the instruction booklet.  All the pieces are top-notch.  It’s just not put together in a rational way.

We can do this.  We have the resources.  We have the money.  And we have the knowledge.  We just need to do it.  We can have the best health care system in the world.

I need a break, so I’m taking one.  Tomorrow I leave with the family for a long weekend skiing out west.  I’m not going to blog, I’m not going to obsessively follow the news, and I’m not going to argue with anyone about health care reform (no matter how hard my father tries).

And when I return, I’ll be ready to go again.  We’ll have the health care “summit”.  We’ll see if things begin to move.  And maybe something will get done.

So go read some of the blogs I recommend on the right.  And come back Wednesday.  I’ll see you then.

P.S.  I’ll probably still answer some emails.  I mean, come on, I can’t cut myself off completely!

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