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Dan McGowan Pres HIP “Universal Health Care”

January 13, 2006 @ 12:00 am EST


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This morning’s program was introduced by Jeff Levy, from Leadership Solutions.

Our speaker was Dan McGowan, President of HIP NY. Mr. McGowan was asked to speak at LIMBA because I heard him say, at another venue, that universal health care is where we should be going. “The number of uninsured are rising, and the insured are fewer. We now have 46 million uninsured people in this country”

Mr. McGowan noted that he had misgivings about other universal healthcare plans in other countries. On the other hand while having shortcomings, all of these plans had better outcomes than our system. “The United States has better health facilities than any country in the world, bar none. The expense far exceeds the per capita costs of any country, but in terms of successful outcomes we are 37th.” In those 36 countries that precede us there are some pretty poor countries. We ought not to be proud of that.

It is McGowan’s contention that preventive, and early care would contribute to better outcomes. Of course that means putting money and resources in play before the patient needs expensive care. He gave an example of statistics he had on the Hispanic segment of the population that was experiencing a high rate if hip and knee replacements. The rate was many times higher than the insured people of similar demographics. These were workers did hard physical work, and had no easy access to care. The lack of early care resulted in these expensive procedures.

These “penny wise and pound foolish” approaches to healthcare absorb more resources than a carefully coordinated approach to health care would.

Mr. McGowan was critical of the costly prescription drug plan that was recently enacted. He said the plan does not allow for competitive bidding, as a result the plan is costing three times what it should.

During the Q&A Dan was asked. What do we do? “Stop letting others make decisions for you. The insurance companies are protecting their interests, the hospitals theirs, the drug companies theirs, and the doctors theirs. Who is speaking for the American people? The answer is no one.”

Dan stated early in his address that universal healthcare would not end the insurance industry. {Which may be true. Back in the 30’s when social security was being shaped, they argued that SS would kill the life insurance business. It didn’t! In fact the greater awareness of the need, enhanced the life insurance business.}

Judging from the passionate involvement of the audience, this is an important issue. Small business people are throwing up their hands, and big business is suffering through. Toyota had been looking to construct a new production facility in the United States. They were actively considering three sites in three states in the US. The cost of health care was the determining factor and Toyota is now building the plant in Canada.

Thank you Mr. Mcgowan for an interesting and informative meeting.