John Edwards

Is it ever okay to consider the cost of health care?

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

tice.jpgSaturday night’s New Hampshire debates were among the more substantive of the campaign.

Health care got a fair bit of discussion, and along the way moderator Charlie Gibson asked ahealthcare.jpg crucial question. Isn’t it true, he wanted to know, that significantly controlling health care costs will ultimately require limiting Americans’ access to some kinds of treatment?

He didn’t get any candid answers. But during a separate portion of the debate, John Edwardsjohn_edwards.jpg invoked a story that illustrates the hard choices Gibson’s question alluded to.

By way of (what else?) denouncing corporate greed, Edwards cited the death last month of 17-year old Nataline Sarkisyan, a California teenager. Suffering from leukemia, Sarkisyan needed a liver transplant after complications from a bone marrow transplant. Her insurance company refused to pay for what it considered, in her condition, an experimental procedure.

The company changed its mind in the face of protest and publicity, but the teen died before the procedure could be performed.

One can find a great deal of red-faced commentary on this case echoing the family’s view that the insurance company murdered the sick girl. Here, though, is a thoughtful report from the LA Times business section.

The essence of the situation appears to be that the transplant promised Sarkisyan a two-out-of-three chance of living six more months. The experts quoted by the Times seem to view its merits as a close call.

This website puts the cost of a liver transplant at between $100,000 and $400,000.

Questions:

Is it perfectly clear that under these circumstances the costs of a liver transplant are justified?

What are the prospects for controlling the growth of health care spending if questions about the reasonableness of this kind of expenditure cannot be raised?

Well, that was different

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Let’s toss it open for some post-debate debate. A couple questions to address:

The format Fun? Distracting from the candidates? Is that good or bad?

Edwards Passionate or straining? Anybody understand his position on gay marriage, or the role of religion in his thinking?

Clinton How impressive is her developing easy-going, unassuming style? Has she finessed her war position? Why the rejection of the liberal label? Is she playing the front-runner position well?

Obama Confident and articulate, but is he making the case that he’s the better choice than Clinton? Nuclear power?

The rest Anybody making a move?

Obama’s $32 million take your breath away

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Barack Obama is a money raising wonder, havingobama.jpg brought in $32.5 million in the second quarter of the year.

He is making Hillary Clinton’s fearsome fundraising machine ($27 million) look a bit old fashioned and frail.

And John Edwards ($9 million)? The Republicans (not yet talking)? They can only hope that the electability issues waiting down the road for Obama and Clinton will ultimately matter more than the ability to amass a war chest.


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