Monday, April 17, 2006

The LRA Health Plan

Saturday's Times Picayune article on the Louisiana Recovery Authority's draft report on state health care brought to mind two or three thoughts that have occured to me in recent months. Conversely, my reaction might have been a reflection of my own preconceived notions.

The first is that, upon seeing newspaper articles about Baton Rouge's replacing of New Orleans as the state's financial and population center, the average North Louisiana Baptist gets about as excited as the average 13 year old boy looking at a Playboy centerfold.

The above might be overstated, but there has been far too little discussion of whether the reaction to changes caused by Katrina is necessary or whether it makes those changes permanent. In some cases financial necessity makes such adjustments unavoidable, but too often they reflect a lack of forethought or even an attempt to capitalize. I might have read too much into this, but when I read:

Rather than building a new teaching hospital in New Orleans -- which has support from Gov. Kathleen Blanco -- the report recommends that LSU move ahead with a comprehensive study to identify its needs in the New Orleans area, which would factor in a post-Katrina population shift to Baton Rouge.

and find that the one named member of the committee that authored the report is a Baton Rouge Civic Leader, it gives me cause for concern. I'm not questioning Spain's integrity, just his mindset.

The report also reflects another concern that I've had--mainly that the state's recovery effort has been too oriented toward the concerns of big business. Seems to be almost a religious feeling among the state's civic leaders that we need to atone for our anti-business past and reputation.

At any rate, the Louisiana Recovery Authority Support Foundation (the privately funded group that sponsored the study) seems blithely unaware of the dichotomy between cost concerns and medical concerns in the national discussion of health care policy. How else do you explain the decision to commission PriceWaterhouseCoopers to author the committee report on the state's health care future? Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that four of the fund's five committee members are two corporate executives, an accounting professor and Ron Forman, could it?

In tomorrow's posting I'll go over specific objections, I should point out that Building Big Easy had an entirely different take. However, he seems to have misread a key passage in the article:

Katrina essentially right-sized the overbuilt hospital system in Region 1," the report says, referring to the New Orleans area. About half the region's 4,602 hospital beds were knocked out of commission by Katrina, but the occupancy rate for those beds was only 56 percent at the time, according to the report

I'll go into more detail later, but that seems to to be an effort to blame the state for overbuilding by private hospitals.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts