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      The health care industry and “self regulation”–haven’t we learned a thing?

      Just a quick late-night note about the proposed reduction in healthcare costs that are supposed to be presided over by the healthcare industries themselves! What an amazing flurry of activity by insurance and drug companies, doctors, and hospitals, to convince the Obama administration that they will reduce costs over the next ten years. Would that be anything like the self-regulatory brilliance of the financial industry over the last ten years? I'm thinking that it could be. The salaries of CEOs of these industries are just about as outrageous as those of the bankers and big fund managers, and they have just as big a stake in “business as usual.” Until we have leadership that is able to include management objectives that include other considerations than the amount of money that will flow into the managers' own personal offshore bank accounts-objectives like a comprehensive, adequately funded public health service, coordination of food programs and health programs, required community clinics in all teaching hospitals, required discounting of pharmaceuticals for the underserved, the end of unfair tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, and the use of their tax money to fund public health programs, as well as required public health service for all doctors in training-we, are likely to have business as usual. How many of the programs I just mentioned do you think that insurance and drug companies, doctors, and hospitals would voluntarily take on themselves? Probably about as many as the pay cuts in Congressional salaries that we have seen voted into law by the Congress members themselves!

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