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Presidential Advisors Harness Consumer-Centric Models to Improve Delivery

by JMcCabeGorman

My first session of the Congress turned out to be a good pick - attendees watching “The Presidential Healthcare Agenda” heard advisors to US presidential candidates describing firsthand challenges the US system faces and detailing candidates’ approaches.

Presidential candidates’ advisors agree: The traditional US model of employer-funded care “business as usual” is not sustainable. Every American should have quality healthcare. We must “contain costs” and move towards a “patient centric system.” Nothing - nothing - is more important than “maintaining our health.”

Another (rare) point of consensus: We can’t afford to sustain spending at this pace - to the tune of 2.1 trillion dollars.

Although advisors agree we must contain costs, they also agree American consumers love to spend. We are “the best shoppers in the world” according to panelists.

They don’t agree on how we incentivize consumers to shop for healthcare choices (tax credits? refunds?) or how we convince the current big market players to evolve the “value chain” and move towards a more competitive, market-based system.

The panelists back-and-forth reminds me of a group of party planners getting together to plan a big benefit, but each is trying to take control of the show, so arguments about details rule the discussion.

It’s never about who you’re going to invite to the party or what color tablecloth to uses, but what you put on the menu to make sure everyone has a good meal choice. We can’t agree whether we want a surf-and-turf for all blowout or a plastic plate, boxed brownie mix snack.

One of the most valuable parts of the session for reporters (and yes, healthcare bloggers) - after each candidate’s plan was introduced, the audience at WHCC voted on whether or not the candidate’s plan was feasible.I’m not sure exactly how many attendees are here but it’s a good sized ballroom and a nice-sized. These are arguably some of the best minds in policy and implementation, so they should have some good insight into whether or not the candidates’ advisors are presenting smoke and mirrors.

Here are the results:

Obama’s plan: 27% say feasible, 73% say NOT feasible

Clinton’s plan: 54% say feasible, 46% say NOT feasible

McCain’s plan: 45% say feasible, 55% say NOT feasible

Administrative Note: The WHCC sessions are jam-packed with info, so I’m going to try something new - streaming live quotes and data to Twitter.com (which limits each post to 140 characters).

Longer coverage will be posted here as soon as there are breaks in sessions.

For more ‘moment to moment’ coverage of sessions, several analysts and media-members are liveblogging from the World Healthcare Congress at Twitter.com.

If you’re not familiar with Twitter.com, these posts are a bit different than the traditional blog format in that we have to be short and sweet - there’s not much room for long-winded op-ed coverage.

Reading Twitter coverage lets you develop your own opinions without reading (too many) of mine.

If you’re not included in the list below but are tweeting from WHCC, direct message me at jenmccabegorman.

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