Jim Humphrey, the Chairman and CEO of Andersen Corp., a company that makes Windows that actually work (little inside computer joke; sorry), wins a Spotty (tm) for his op-ed Cutting MinnesotaCare: Quick fix with long-term consequences in the Star Tribune on Tuesday of this week. Here are just a couple of grafs:
If we've learned anything from the economic meltdown, it's that too much focus [by Wall Street] on short-term results can have catastrophic long-term consequences. Taking away health-care coverage for thousands of Minnesotans may provide a quick fix, but it will have far greater costs in the future. Cutting care would actually drive up the long-term cost of health care by forcing more people into emergency care, which is already overcrowded and very expensive. As an example, treating a bronchial infection in a doctor's office costs between $85 and $145; the cost for an emergency room visit is $450 to $650.
It would also drive up the costs of uncompensated care, which has risen 132 percent over the last five years. Minnesota hospitals already have unrecovered costs of more than $600 million a year for patients who can't pay -- and those costs are recouped through higher premiums to businesses and individuals who are insured.
Humphrey goes on to say that government should be run more like a business. To the extent that he is saying that government run more like one envisioned by the CEO Decider in Chief we used to have — and Spot is pretty sure he isn’t — Spot would disagree with this part of Humphrey’s analysis.
If, however, Humphrey means that we try to figure out what are goals are, and go about managing for those goals in an efficient and competent way, Spot’s aboard with the plan.
Mr. Humphrey says we should managing for health. The thirty-country OECD recently issued a report on how we’re all doing in the good ol’ US of A. Here are some of the findings:
Infant Deaths: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).
Life Expectancy: 24 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics).
Health Expenditures: 1 out of 30.
Poverty Rates: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).
Child Poverty: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Poland).
Income Inequality: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Portugal).
Obesity: 30 out of 30.
Incarceration: 30 out of 30.
Work Hours (ranked in ascending order): 30 out of 30.
Height (women): 25 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Portugal, Japan).
Height (men): 24 out of 30 (Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Korea, Japan).
The countries in parentheses are the ones that the US bested in each category.
To summarize, we’re getting fatter, shorter, most of us poorer; more of our babies die; we don’t live as long as citizens of our peer countries even though we spend more per capita on health care than anybody else, but at least we work harder.
Well done America!
At least we’re taller than the Koreans, Spotty.
Very true, grasshopper.
If Governor Pepsodent gets his way, we’ll be pulling our weight (pun intended) here in Minnesota to make sure we can hold our heads high in comparing our statistics with any other state. You betcha!
(Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty (tm) is awarded to the author of an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog post or comment that Spot wishes he had written himself.
A thump of the tail to A Tiny Revolution for the OCED report.