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Civil discussions of healthcare reform are possible. I heard one just last week when three panelists took up the subject before a business group.
Jim Hinton, CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, set the tone: “There are no villains in this debate.”
Daniel Derksen, a professor in UNM’s Family and Community Medicine Department and president of the New Mexico Medical Society, said healthcare reform is too important to be a partisan debate.
Bob Schwartz, a UNM Law school professor and expert on health law and bioethics, called for more consumer information.
All three talked about costs and waste.
If we could save even a small percentage on waste in the system, we could easily pay for healthcare reform, Derksen said. “We waste $210 billion a year on over-testing, another $200 billion on claims processing and $50 billion on defensive practice,” he said.
Last year Americans received half the world’s CT scans, which deliver 20 to 40 times the radiation of a chest x-ray, Hinton said. “We should remove the incentive to use CT scans and quit doing unnecessary back surgeries and prescribing unnecessary antibiotics,” Derkson said.
It’s a matter of incentives. If a doctor treats you, whether you need it or not, he or she makes money.
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