La plus ça change

The old French expression, “la plus ça change,” or “the more things change… (the more they remain the same)” certainly applies to the health care reform debate.

While looking for something else on the bookcase in the Jampole Communications office today, I found a very intriguing soft cover book titled “Health Care Reform Terms” from Tringa Press, by Vergil N. and Debora A. Slee, both medical doctors.

What was both so fascinating and alarming about this 115-page dictionary of terms deemed important for the understanding of the health care industry and health care reform was that the Slees wrote and published it in 1993 during the period in which the Clinton Administration was developing its health reform plans.

Two depressing observations:

1.  That it took 115 pages to define all the terms and acronyms that someone needed in 1993 to be a knowledgeable participant in the debate.  I perused the terms and virtually all I recognized are relevant to the healthcare debate today.  Some examples: “standard benefit package,” “Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” “assignment,” “area wage adjustment,” NHSC, OBRA, OMB, “procedure,” “right to die,” “case management,” “single-payer system,” “smart card.”

2.  That the objectives of health care reform, as proposed in the Slees’ introductory overview, remain absolutely the same.  The Slees present these objectives as a series of single words, followed by short paragraphs of explanation. Here they are:

  • Cost
  • Waste
  • Equity
  • Access
  • Accountability
  • Quality
  • Prevention
  • Security

The single word headlines are enough to make us realized how foolishly our society has squandered the last 16 years when it comes to creation of a modern health care system that ensures that everyone gets the health care that should be the basic right of all peoples while controlling cost.

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