Given the present need to address the economic crisis, many people say the government cannot afford a big investment in health care, that these plans are going nowhere fast. But this represents a false choice, because health care reform is good for our economy.
As the country slips into what is possibly the worst downturn since the Depression, nearly all experts agree that Washington should stimulate demand with new spending. And one of the most effective ways to spend would be to give states money to enroll more people in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan. This would free up state money for rebuilding roads and bridges and other public works projects — spending that could create jobs.
Health care reform can be an engine of job growth in other ways, too. Most proposals call for investments in health information technology, including the computerization of patient medical records. During the campaign, for example, Mr. Obama proposed spending $50 billion on such technology. The hope is that computerized recordkeeping, and the improved sharing of information among doctors that it would enable, would improve the quality of patient care and perhaps also lower medical costs. More immediately, it would create jobs in the technology sector. After all, somebody would need to develop the computer systems and operate them for thousands of American health care providers.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Health Care Reform
Following up on my last post, here's Jonathan Gruber talking about how health care reform can fit into the broader goal of stimulating the economy (NYT):