Is Prevention in Health Care Misguided?

Please, don’t throw tomatoes yet! Everybody knows that prevention in the twentieth century, particularly due to use of infectious disease vaccines and more recently some innovative invasive procedures, has changed the demographic face of our population and the world’s.

Of course, while what “everybody” knows is never the whole of the matter, the inspiring story of diagnosis, followed by treatment, followed by survival is a wonderful sequence of events.

An upcoming symposium is about the flip-side of that coin (although it has been very hard to get people to talk about it). About eighteen months ago, we chose to bring together scholars who don’t necessarily presume that the mainstream health care perspective of diagnosis and follow-up treatment is more than a single widely endorsed perspective. The upcoming symposium, part of the annual series on health/disability/elder law held by Marquette’s Elder’s Advisor law review, proposes that prevention is often enough overrated that close examination is warranted. The symposium is titled “The Institutionalization of Prevention: We Win, We Lose.”

Cancer diagnosis and treatment is particularly, but hardly exclusively, illustrative.

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Priorities for the Next President: Health Care

I write as briefly as possible about health care plans from the presidential candidates. I would not imagine telling you what to think about this, but I hope to present the differences in the proposals, both philosophically and practically. We are so busy reading our financial records with alarm! Please, add health care issues to your voting decision.

Note: The one-hour Turner Hall 4th St Forum on health care, taped last Thursday, is available as a podcast. The panel included Bill Jenkins, who has extensive experience as a leader with Aurora; George Lightbourn, public policy wonk and former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration; and David Newby, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. And me, of course.

The differences between the McCain and Obama proposals are far greater than any past candidates. Obama presents a development or variation on the Clinton/Gore/Massachusetts plans that seek to spread risk and coverage. McCain takes health care coverage in a completely different direction. Below, I line up the elements, including major changes, sources and extent of coverage, cost containment, and extension of coverage to the uninsured.

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