Experts criticize, question healthcare

By on November 18, 2009

The entire industrialized world aside from the United States guarantees healthcare. The U.S. has more preventable deaths than Great Britain and Germany, while spending twice as much on healthcare.

These facts, among others, were pointed out by three experts during the healthcare panel that filled the Mancheski Executive Seminar Room of the Lender School of Business last Wednesday.

The panel was sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Institute and the Turkish Cultural Center of Connecticut, and hosted by Quinnipiac’s International Business department.

Guest panelists included Dr. Theodore Marmor, professor emeritus of public policy and management at Yale University, Dr. Ronald Rozett, medical director of the physician assistant program, and Angela Mattie, associate professor of management at Quinnipiac.

“We contribute to Canadian mental health – they can hold it over us that they have a better system,” Marmor said, jokingly.

The panelists compared the U.S. healthcare system to Canada and European countries, and also discussed the healthcare reforms proposed by the Obama administration.

Marmor presented the audience with five different U.S. health systems, saying that none of these schemes are known by U.S. or European commentators, and that it’s not surprising that there is no consensus.

“If you’re poor enough, you are entitled to a broad range of benefits,” Marmor said. “This rests upon the charitable impulse of the government to get public charity of Medicaid. Under-insurance is just as big a problem as no insurance.”

Rozett gave a history of the Commission on Cost of Medical Care from 1929-34, coming to the conclusion that we are discussing the same problem 75 years later.

“They were accused by the AMA (American Medical Association) of being communist and socialist,” Rozett said. “Does that sound familiar?”

Mattie specifically stated what other countries are doing well that the U.S. is not, and what we should do to change it.

“We are the only industrialized country without universal healthcare, we rely on the primary care system, we are horrible with the implementation of electronic medical records and we are reimbursed based on volume of service instead of quality,” Mattie said. “They need to redesign the system.”

The Q&A portion of the night ended with a pivotal question proposed by a student: Can politicians leave politics at the door?

“No,” Mattie said. “Every piece of healthcare policy is involved with politics. The intent for reform is there, but you cannot separate the two.”

President John Lahey was in attendance, hoping that the panel would educate students on an important issue.

“It’s the biggest policy issue facing the entire country,” Lahey said. “It’s important that our students listen to three outstanding experts in this area to give them the ability to be exposed to this. I think it’s an extremely important part of their education.

“It was really encouraging to see so many students here. I’m sure they learned quite a bit that will hopefully advance their education. They’re going to be the future leaders that will solve the healthcare problem and turn around our economy as well.”

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