January 28, 2010

The flagship event of Grand Valley’s Health Care Reform Summit was a debate between various experts in Washington D.C.’s think tank community. The debate focused around general issues surrounding the government and free market roles in providing health care access and quality to citizens in the United States.


January 28 – The flagship event of Grand Valley’s Health Care Reform Summit was a debate between various experts in Washington D.C.’s think tank community. The debate focused around general issues surrounding the government and free market roles in providing health care access and quality to citizens in the United States. Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, introduced the moderator, Dr. Kalahn Taylor-Clark.
As moderator, Dr. Clark introduced the first question to the evening’s debaters: “The first question is what should the proper role of government be in health care? Meaning, what should be the balance between free market, regulation and regulation in health care?
Michael Tanner answered the question in the follow opening statement:“I actually have a slightly different question, which is what makes anyone think the government can run a health care system? I mean the health care systems it runs today are remarkable failures. The VA system mistreats our veterans, the Medicaid system provides poor quality at a high cost, and the Medicare system, depending on which accounting measure you want to use is somewhere between $50 and $100 trillion in debt going forward. That is not exactly an inspiring track record. But I would also suggest that if you look at the problems that are facing the U.S. health care system–and we have some very significant problems facing our system–the vast majority, if not all of them, are actually caused by the government.”
Timothy Noah began by explaining the different approaches to health care reform around the world:“I think the government should assume a strong role in health care. One route is what is called single payer where the government provides health insurance to all – that is the Canadian system. Another route is strict regulation of insurers – that is how they do it in France and Germany. The health care reform bill currently before Congress conforms to neither model. Opponents of the bill say it would lead to one or the other. I say we should be so lucky. At best, it is a tiny step in the direction of option 2 – strict regulation. But in the strict regulation model, other companies typically require health insurers to provide basic coverage on a non-profit basis.”

Mr. Miller talked about the two extremes of the health care reform continuum:“A single payer is dreamed of by some. A much freer, not a completely free market, as hoped for by others. The equilibrium drifts towards some type of hybrid, but it is always less fuel-efficient. Politics tends to favor the outward appearance of privately owned and operated health care but still kept pretty tightly tethered to political rules and limits, almost if you will in the insurance sense, a captive insurer. The role is to take the blame and allow for plausible deniability regarding what would otherwise be the blame for full public and political control. “
Dr. Clark listens to the debaters offer their rebuttal statements after the opening round of the debate.

The debaters listened to Dr. Clark clarify some terms used during the opening round of the debate:“This debate is about health care insurance. We talked a little bit about health care disparities at the talk earlier today, but this debate is primarily about providing access to health care. This debate may be less about quality of care, may be less about what we are calling social determinants, but is more focused on this idea of access to health care.”

Dr. Gordon Alderink, professor of physical therapy at Grand Valley, asks a questions about the framework of the health care reform bill going through Congress.
A physician in the Grand Rapids area asks a question about health care access to the panel of debaters.

Gleaves Whitney shakes hands with Dr. Clark and Michael Tanner at the end of the debate.

At the end of the evening Hauenstein Center Gleaves Whitney poses for a photo with the debaters and moderator. Pictures left to right: Timothy Noah, Kalahn Taylor-Clark, Gleaves Whitney, Michael Tanner, and Thomas Miller. 

 

 

 

 

Updated 1/27/2014

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