[FLOATED for HEARING VIDEO FEED — NOW CONCLUDED — Originally-posted on May 27, 2008 @ 9:42 PM.] Set a bookmark to this post-page. On the morning of Tuesday, June 3, 2008, I hosted a live video feed, and a live-chat/blog of this rather provocatively-entitled Senate Finance Committee Hearing. . . .
[UPDATED JUNE 3 @ 11:39 AM EDT]
ARCHIVED REAL VIDEO OF THIS SENATE HEARING
WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON, RIGHT HERE.
▲ And we’re underway — with Sen. Baucus offering a quote from Mark Twain — “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it“. . . he says reforming health care in America is like that. . . .
▲ In two weeks, there will be a Congressional Health Care Reform Summit on June 16, 2008 [I’ll live-blog it, here, as well], per Sen. Grassley. . . . Opening statements now being offered.
▲ Welcomes to the witnesses — Ford’s Felicia Fields getting a very warm welcome from her Senator. . . .
▲ Paul B.Ginsburg, Ph.D, President, Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, DC is up. . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg commends the Committee for tackling a difficult, almost intracable problem. . . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg decries Vioxx (again). . . . Now into witnesses’ prepared remarks. . . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg calls for a capitated payer regimen — enhancing the current version we now live under.
▲ Dr. Ginsburg recognizes that the sacrifices of rationing must be distrubuted equitably — for this is a resource-constrained market.
▲ Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D, Associate Director, RAND Health, Distinguished Chair in Health Quality, Santa Monica, CA, is now up — gives a “shout out” to Colorado College(!) — then, more seriously, points out that children bear the brunt of most sub-optimal state-sponsored health-care. She cites lots of statistics surrounding sub-standard, state-by-state medical care.
▲ Felicia Fields, Group Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, is now up. . . . opens with a short Ford commercial.
▲ Ms. Fields wants coverage to be more affordable, for all — champions generic substitution — have FDA approve bio-equivalent generics more quickly! YES!
▲ Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC, is now up — AFL-CIO represents 2 million Americans. AFL-CIO is also among the lead plaintiffs in the Schering-Plough Securities Class Actions [see lower left]. . . .
▲ Ms. Holt-Baker reading emails about the travails of many ordinary Americans’ lack of care. . . .
▲ Ms. Holt-Baker says in general the employers work hard to provide good, and fair, cost-effective health care plans for their employees — but “value-based purchasing” [meaning: pay for tangible, measurable benefit to outcomes, not just incremental changes at 3X the price (think Vytorin, here!)], and electronic prescribing ought to be more deeply-driven into the United States Health Care delivery system. . . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg amplifies this last point, in response to questioning from Sen. Baucus — MediCare has a “governance problem” — it should be insulated from “second-guessing”, by 543 Congressmen. MediCare ought to make decisions based on large improvements in outcomes, or great reductions in prices, Dr. Ginsburg says. . . .
▲ Sen. Grassley asks about decreasing costs in employee populations of Ms. Fields — she responds that lowering risks (prevention) of disease lowers costs. . . .
▲ Ms. Fields believes the “one best measure” to work on: Health care Information technology universally implemented. . . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg, on capitiated payments for certain disease states: Chronic diseases like renal disease, cardiovascular etc. — a capitated payment system would inmprove quality, and overall, reduce costs, over a fee-for-services model. . . .
▲ Dr. Ginsburg argues for BIG, not incremental, changes — pointing to 1983 changes in DRGs — huge impact, very-controversial, but immediate impats — the “Let them howl” approach (re big pharma!) — bold statement!
▲ And, as if “scripted“, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R, UT) appears to question Dr. Ginsburg — taking a very pro-Big-Pharma questioning — “why would we injure the delivery system“?
▲ Ms. Holt-Baker answers Sen. Hatch — each employee pays about $12,000 per year for health care, in her AFL-CIO population — and about $900 of that goes to cover the uninsured. Nice counterpoint to Hatch’s spin: “We don’t know what we are talking about, on this Committee. . . .”
▲ Dr. Ginsburg thinks the inefficiency of our system has much to with our culture — we are not likely to be able to adopt a “single-payer” system. . . . but on specific standards of care — for example, “How does Germany provide so much better in providing care — for outcomes — to infants?” — we need to look at that.
▲ Dr. McGlynn — more Colorado College praise. . . some on health care.
▲ Ms. Holt-Baker speaks in favor of a “uniquely-American” system — we cannot simply copy the U.K., or Canada, or Germany. . . .
▲ Sen. “Jello” Jay Rockefeller (D, WV) on end-of-life cost reductions — a delicate subject. . . . what do we do to “keep people comfortable”, but not aggressively attack problems that cannot be beaten — it becomes biologically impossible to reverse Alzheimers’, for example.
▲ Sen. Rockefeller now badgering (unwise!) the witness — suggesting that Dr. Ginsburg made poor decisions about his own mother’s care — “keeping her comfortable” was perhaps too much care(!?). . . . Wow.
▲ Sen. Rockefeller is really hammering the point — Dr. McGlynn says sometimes people live on — it is not certain that they will die within 6 months, “no matter what” — this is an important discussion, but should not be handled in such a maudlin, ham-handed way as Sen. Rockefeller seems it should — JMHO.
▲ Sen. Baucus is now approaching the notion of taxation of health-care insurance (decuctions being limited, for example) — there seems to be a real thought of some truly radical shifts, come next year — with a new Administration — for really going after old problems. Lots of the old sacred cows now are on the chopping block, it would seem. . . .
▲ Dr. McGlynn notes that her research would suggest that solving the rate of adult obesity in America would say billions of dollars — she suggest incentives, long-term life goals — some rather REGULATORY — will be need to change obesity rates. She points to LA Times article of yesterday.
▲ Sen. Baucus concludes with a plug for the Congressional Health Care Summit he and Sen. Grassley are sponsoring, on June 16, 2008 [we’ll live blog it, here, as well!] — and gavels the Hearing into adjournment.
Set a bookmark to this post-page. On the morning of Tuesday, June 3, 2008, I’ll host a live video feed, and a live-chat/blog of this rather provocatively-entitled Senate Finance Committee Hearing — the line below will go “live“, and the overlay will vanish (to see what that looks like, look at the bottom of this post) — just above
below this text block.
[While we wait, C-Span’s archived video of the April 28, 2008 Congressional Health-Care conference is here, in a new flash-enabled window. Do click while we wait.]
BTW, you’ll be able to make real time commentary, in the little yellow chat box, at left, on that morning. In that regard, note that someone purporting to be John J. Mack, the CEO of Morgan Stanley, the largest investment bank in the world — and the co-lead underwriters of Schering-Plough’s August 2007 $3.8 billion stock offering, priced at $27.50 per share [ouch!] — stopped by to say “hello“, there over the long-weekend. So, “hello“, Mr. Mack. Heh. [Could the visitor have been the owner of VirSci Corp. (see paragraph 6 of that link), and thus, entirely-another “John Mack”? — the IP logs do show at least one match to Pennsylvania, in that time-frame (and many, many inside New York City, and surrounding environs — the Hamptons, included), on the morning of the 25th — but, as ever, I digress. It matters not. Feel free to leave anything — anything! — there, at any time.]
UNITED STATES SENATE
COMMITTEE HEARING NOTICE
Rising Costs, Low
Quality in Health Care:
The Necessity for Reform
June 3, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.,
in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Senator Charles Grassley, IA
[Click on his name, above, for full-text, easy-view version of the Senator’s Opening Statement.]
Click on Witness Names to read Witness Statements (in PDF Format):
Paul B.Ginsburg, Ph.D, President, Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, DC
Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D, Associate Director, RAND Health, Distinguished Chair in Health Quality, Santa Monica, CA
Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC
Felicia Fields, Group Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI
Max Baucus (D, MT),
United States Senator,
and Chairman, Senate
Committee on Finance
Charles S. Grassley (R, IA)
United States Senator
and Ranking Member,
Committee on Finance