Booz-Allen-Hamilton has an interesting article in which they discuss what they see as the progress in health reform in 2008. They don’t see change coming from Congress any time soon, so the changes will be marginal until 2009 (HT: Grace Marie Turner):
– Continued development of consumer-directed health plans.
– Joint ventures among payors, providers, and pharma companies to provide better care and better service for major medical problems such as cardiac conditions, joint replacement, cancer, asthma, and diabetes.
– New opportunities to aggregate catastrophic risk in the individual market and create new "virtual" groups of policyholders.
– Political debates that begin to chart the multi-year process of future reform.
Of course, I love consumer-driven plans (CDHPs). But they are not a silver bullet. Indeed, point 3 (pooling risk) is going to be difficult in some states where both state and federal regulation interfere with spontaneously formed risk pools. Nevertheless, the upward trajectory of CDHDs is promising.
Note: If there is one legal thing you can do to stop the march of socialized medicine, it’s to encourage individuals and business leaders to adopt these plans. Once we get to about 20 percent penetration, everything changes.