Monday, December 5, 2016

Tom Price Is Eager to Lead H.H.S., and Reduce Its Clout - The New York Times

Here is the "spin" Depending on your political view (Democratic vs. Republican) Price's appointment is the end of government interference in patient/provider relationships, or it is the end of health care quality and accessibility for our citizens.

I opine it is neither.  Most all practicing physicians agree that some federal and state regulation is necessary, however it is now out of control.  Neither Congress nor  HHS has shown any leadership in controlling costs other than penalties and/or incentives.  The model has been extreme, and cumbersome, with bloated HHS and CMS administration, at times overstepping it's limitations, extending to patient care and not financing.

Regardless of what either side thinks, Price is the ideal selection for the head of HHS. The reasons are:

A long history of patient management, a fluent knowledge of how congress and HHS work, his positions in budgetary matters.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has tried to put a lid on federal spending. As secretary, he would be responsible for more than $1 trillion in spending, a number that will surge as the population ages.

The health secretary has immense discretion to impose, revoke and modify rules. A review of Mr. Price’s record in Congress, including his speeches and legislative proposals, suggests that he would try to reduce the burden of federal regulations on health care providers, especially doctors.
As secretary, he would be responsible for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, which insures eight million children at some point each year. In 2007, he opposed expansion of that program because, he said on the House floor, some children with private insurance would become eligible for “government-run socialized medicine.”  This would unnecessarily shift private funding to the tax-payer.
Senate Democrats are sure to challenge many of his positions at his confirmation hearings. Just as they distrust him on health care, he distrusts them.
I do not trust any of them. Most of us are tired of rhetoric during elections and legislative processes. That is how President-elect Trump rose to his present status.  
In 2010, he said on the House floor that he had discovered that “there were more folks in Washington who affected what I could do for and with my patients than anybody I ever met in residency or in medical school.” That, he said, “was wrong.”
Mr. Price often reminds colleagues of a sentence in the original Medicare law, passed in 1965: “Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine.”
Congress has a short memory.  Perhaps that is one reason for funding more research on Alzheimer's disease.

If confirmed, Mr. Price will have a chance to practice what he has preached for decades. He could try to overhaul what he calls the “predatory trial lawyer litigation system.” He could try to stop what he calls “regulatory oppression” by the federal government. And he could eliminate some of the mandates that he calls a “death knell for quality health care.”




Tom Price Is Eager to Lead H.H.S., and Reduce Its Clout - The New York Times

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