Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Serious Medicine Strategy When The Agenda Shifts to Economics and Jobs
"Democrats Slam Brakes on Health Care Overhaul"--that's the headline in The New York Times today. “We’re not on health care now,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “We’ve talked a lot about it in the past.” He added, “There is no rush.”
Indeed, as the chart above, from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, shows,"health insurance" ranks twelfth on the public's list of priorities. Although interestingly, "Medicare" ranks much higher, sixth, and "health care" ranks eighth. And thus the reminder: people care about health and those who are extremely dependent on healthcare--the elderly--are extremely focused on "their" issues." But the general public doesn't rate "health insurance" as a very high priority. No wonder Reid doesn't want to talk about it anymore
And in any case, as the Pew data show, the top priorities are "economy" and "jobs."
So does that leave healthcare out in the cold? Maybe. One certainly gets the feeling that Reid has moved on, and perhaps also the Obama administration.
So should Serious Medicine Strategy find some other topic to worry about? Become Serious Economic Strategy? Nope. The argument here at SMS, all along, has been that healthcare is a great driver for the economy. It's the biggest employer, and medicine--not "health insurance"--is a product that people want to consume, sometimes desperately, ravenously. And not just Americans, but people around the world. So if that's not an economic engine, what is? Isn't that what we want?
But the argument has to be made. And alas, since, 98 percent of the discussion over healthcare has been over controlling costs--that is, shrinking the healthcare sector, perhaps provoking a recession in one of the few vibrant sectors of the economy--then it's little wonder that the country doesn't think of healthcare and medicine as an economic driver.
Serious Medicine Strategy has always been an economic strategy--now is the time to make that case.
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 8:04 PM