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Friday, August 4th 2006

Can Democrats Fix Healthcare?

Over at the Decision ’08, they’re preparing for the worst. Republicans should be, well the one’s who haven’t jumped ship.

I’ve more than alluded to my personal political views and I, like many physicians (medical students other than myself tend to be a little more liberal. But that is before they have to start paying back their student loans) am a little conservative when it comes to medical matters. Organized medicine has found allies on the state level in Republicans when it comes to medical liability reform, residency training funding, battling expanded procedures for non-physician practitioners, and a host of other issues.

However, is a Democratic controlled House really such a blow to the political goals of the nation’s physicians? Well, maybe; a split Congress, with an unpopular President isn’t exactly going to put out groundbreaking reforms. And we remember this debacle.

Its interesting that the flop of the last major Democratic health initiative was instrumental in bringing in a Republican majority in 1994. Of course, more substantial matters are likely to fell the ruling party this time around.

But, back to my point, what have Republicans really accomplished on health care in Washington? Frist can’t even appropriately schedule a vote or throw his support behind national tort reform. We can’t get substantial reform on the SGR, and so battle year to year on Medicare cuts. We’ve seen the implosion of the extreme disappointment that is Part D.

Some of the most discouraging signs have been the lack of substantiated effort by the Republican majority.

In anycase, I’m sure we can’t expect more from a split government, but we probably can’t expect less either. I find myself not particularly mourning a Republican absolute shelacking in November, and that is exactly what it is shaping up to be.