Politico provides a list of the attendees at the Blair House Summit. We see 38 names of Senators and Members of Congress, and yet only two of them are doctors: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana.
So far, we have heard President Barack Obama, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi just quoted an American asking, "When is something going to happen on healthcare? We can't hold out much longer."
But again, we might ask: What does it mean, "something is going to happen on healthcare?" What is the essence of healthcare? Is it having health insurance, or is it getting treated and cured? As we have noted, you don't go to the doctor to show off your health insurance card, you go to get better.
Pelosi also just said, "Healthcare reform is entitlement reform." Oh, so it's not about health, it's about savings. No wonder the American people are turning off.
And then she added, "I want to talk about it what it means to the economy." But no mention of the jobs created by healthcare, to say nothing of medical research and medical technology.
And she cites the "job lock" because a child is sick. Well, "job lock" is a problem. But what if the child were not sick in the first place?
But of course, if we're going to think our way out of medical problems, we can't rely just on politicians. We need scientists, such as Dr. Jonas Salk, or Dr. Anthony Fauci, or Dr. Francis Collins. That's how to bend the curve: Just as Salk bent the curve on polio, and Fauci and many others bent the curve on AIDS. That's the way to reduce costs.
Update: Sen. Harry Reid told a moving story about a Nevada man whose child needed cleft palate surgery, and how the insurance company was giving the man a hard time over the cost of the surgery. Fair enough: But the real story of medicine is the fact that the surgery can be done in the first place. And the real key to pushing down costs for cleft-palate surgery, or any kind of surgery, is further technological advance. That's the story of laparascopic surgery, and it's a real cost-curve bender.