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Health care reform continues to produce mixed opinions

Posted January 4, 2010

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— Business people inside and outside the health care industry continue to debate health care reform as Congress prepares to hammer out a final list of changes to the nation's health care system.

"Often times, what we do in government is we do a better job of reacting to a crisis than we do of planning ahead and preparing. To a great degree, health care reform is a reaction to crisis," North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler said Monday.

Round-table addresses health care reform Round-table addresses health care reform

Cansler was among several participants in a round-table discussion that preceded the annual economic forecast event sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber.

Some participants quickly expressed concern about the 2,000 pages of proposed legislation before Congress.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions that will come from this first piece of legislation, and I think there are some very strong unintended consequences to the business community and to employers that could come from it," said Billie Redmond, a member of WakeMed's board of directors.

Jack Bailey, a senior vice president of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, said there's not enough emphasis on wellness and disease prevention in the reform effort.

"Obesity tripled in the last 25 years. There aren't strong enough prevention actions in this bill," Bailey said.

Panelists agreed that health care costs need to be contained or cut.

"Where's the incentive to do the best work, not necessarily more work, and to stop doing piecemeal work that we do? I think the opportunity for cost-containment has to come from improvement in the way health care is delivered," Redmond said.

Dr. William Roper, dean of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and chief executive of the UNC Health Care System, said rationing of health care services might be one answer. He acknowledged that that would be a tough sell.

"Are we ready ever to have health care in America that is a communal activity with limits placed that allow us to make better use of dollars so that we can care for everybody? I'm a little worried about that," Roper said.

Despite doubts over the final reform package that will be presented to President Obama, Dr. Victor Dzau, president and chief executive of the Duke University Health System, said he likes what he sees so far.

"I'm optimistic, and I do believe that by introducing the changes we see today – not blowing up the system – we'll be able to have the first step toward the right direction," Dzau said.

11 Comments

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  • wilmingtonNC Jan 5, 2010

    What I don't understand is all these people in favor of this travesty. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the reason many people do not have health care is financial, so now you'll be required to buy it or pay a fine. Huh? If you can't afford it now how will you afford it later?

  • Eduardo1 Jan 5, 2010

    Congress, lets shift priorities to: Jobs, Homeland safety, Economy, etc

    LETS GET TO WORK!!!!!!!

  • dwf1205 Jan 5, 2010

    The worst part of this is it *requires* folks to buy something they don't want. I have been talking to my state rep and senator regarding the nullification of the proposed healthcare law in North Carolina. Regardless, I am not going to buy something I don't want, I am not going to pay a fine for not buying the said service if I don't want that service, and anyone trying to collect that fine might *need* some healthcare!

  • viking416 Jan 4, 2010

    "We're going to have massive rationing of health care. And unlike other countries, like Canada, where they ration, limit, and delay care, we won't have anywhere to go to get around it." DrJ

    You've been watching to much Fox News. The health care in Canada is no where need as bad as it is portrayed by this Bills opponents. Do a little DD before you repeat stuff you see on TV.

  • time4real Jan 4, 2010

    it doesn't matter what anyone's opinion is, Pelosi and Reid are going to accomplish what they were destined for!

  • ccacrabbitdog Jan 4, 2010

    the ignorance of people for it is amazing.....if it is so important that it has to b done now, why does it not take effect for over a year. the taxes start as soon as it is passed.....nothing but a new way to trax us......and if u think it only taxes the rich u r smoking crack....read the bill, because they didn't........

  • rand321 Jan 4, 2010

    the state DHS secretary should tell us how much the taxpayers of NC are expected to church up to pay for the so called unfunded Federal mandates? Maybe then we can hold our illustrious freshman sentator to task for not getting us cash for cloture!

  • DrJ Jan 4, 2010

    When I listen to liberals laud the health care "reform," I'm reminded that the road to "Hades" is paved with good intentions.

    We're going to have massive rationing of health care. And unlike other countries, like Canada, where they ration, limit, and delay care, we won't have anywhere to go to get around it.

  • needspaintgt Jan 4, 2010

    "There is no crisis other than the one ginned up by the politicians and the media. Health Care is readily available to all."

    You obviously have tunnel vision.

  • itsnotmeiswear Jan 4, 2010

    I think the biggest reform needed is the delivery system. Pay them once to get me well and then move on to the next patient. Part of that is to include some student loan incentives for years of service in rural areas and primary care so every doctors won't try to be a specialist to pay back those loans faster.

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