If there's one thing I believe in, it is experimentation. The way you find out if things will work is to try them. In the healthcare arena, I would have preferred experimenting with something more bold (Single Payer Plus) than the current reform legislation. But what do I know. More to the point, what does anyone know? We're all just guessing. And if history is any indicator, even the best of our guesses will come up short. That's what experiments are for. We do what we can do, and then we build on it. It's called progress.
In this next phase of the experiment that is American healthcare, we have an obligation to watch closely and insist on continuous improvement. When something proves problematic, we must fix it fast. When opportunities emerge, we must take advantage of them as quickly as possible. Short cycle innovation is a powerful way to get where you want to go.
We will get things wrong for sure. Let's focus on fixing them, not whining about them.
* Single Payer Plus is an innovative national health system that is wrapped by whatever additional services anyone wants to buy in the open market. Competing insurance, long-term care, optometry, dental, tummy-tucks, whatever. You want it, you buy it. Easy-peasy. At the core of Single Payer Plus should be another experiment, the one Alan Grayson is proposing called Medicare Buy-in.
I've introduced H.R. 4789, the Public Option Act. This simple four-page bill lets any American buy into Medicare at cost. You want it, you pay for it, you're in. It adds nothing to the deficit; you pay what it costs.
The only way to know if Medicare Buy-in will work is to test it experimentally. There is no need to bet the ranch, just try it. Perhaps a single state should test the model. I propose North Carolina.