Observations Yankee Doodling

Prevention and the new US health reform act

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2116 (Published 21 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2116
  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}rti.org

    Important but overlooked benefits were snuck into the bill

    Contrary to many predictions (including mine: BMJ 2010;340:c500, doi:10.1136/bmj.c500), President Obama and the Democrats found the will and the tricky mechanism to pass sweeping healthcare reform legislation. Now that the bills have been signed into law, everyone is discussing what will happen and when. Critics of all persuasions are no less active than they were before passage.

    Critics from the right say that the programme will do nothing to staunch the haemorrhaging of spending on health care and thus will only worsen our dire economic situation. Critics from the left say that the new law is like treating cancer with morphine (BMJ 2010;340:c1778, doi:10.1136/bmj.c1778)—that it will bring temporary relief but won’t alter the root cause of the problem, which they say is the private insurance system.

    To some extent, both sets of critics are right. But at this point it seems to me that the only question remaining is the same one facing Congress last month when they voted: was this bill, imperfect as it was, better than doing nothing? …

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