Health & Spirit

Analysis: Elizabeth Warren throws down the gauntlet

Elisabeth Rosenthal, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

Remember, patient (or taxpayer) savings mean loss of income for the United States' most robust sector in the post-recession economy. In many post-manufacturing cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, a single hospital system is the biggest employer. In Boston, hospitals and hospital corporations make up the top six employers. Minnesota and Massachusetts have done well with drug and device manufacturing. And let's not start on insurers, whose lucrative health business would largely disappear.

Any plan to rein in the United States' bloated $3.5 trillion healthcare system will be slow going, requiring not just a footnoted blueprint but also the taming of many opposing forces. It took years for Canada to move from a market-based system to government run health. It endured lengthy debates and doctors' strikes.

Warren calls her proposal a "long-term plan." But voters want to know how we get from here to anywhere else. In polls, their top healthcare issue is affordability -- emphasis on now.

They need concrete proposals as well as long-term vision. In the next debate, how about talking about H.R. 3, a bill in Congress to curb prescription drug prices? That plan would allow the health and human services secretary to negotiate a maximum price that could be charged to Medicare for insulin and some of the most expensive medicines in the United States, based on the prices paid for those drugs in other countries.

Days before the last Democratic debate, the Congressional Budget Office said it would save $345 billion over a six-year period (2023-29).


If the bill were to move to the Senate, how would the front-runners vote? What do they have to say about that?

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