Does the National Health IT plan remind you of Social Security Reform?

A good overview article in Business Week (This Man Wants to Heal Health Care) describes David Brailer’s efforts to use information technology to re-engineer the health care system. Efficiency will increase, costs will drop, and service levels will improve –or so we’d like to believe. The problem is that the expenditures are front loaded and the ultimate benefits quite uncertain and difficult to measure.

Reading the article I was reminded of the proposed reform of Social Security. Somehow –it was never clear exactly how– private accounts were going to close Social Security’s long-term deficit. In the short term, though, it just meant borrowing massively to cover the cost of transitioning to the new program.

Health care does have massive problems –worse than Social Security– and information technology can help solve them. But the national program is no panacea and could easily turn into a nightmare.

October 21, 2005

3 thoughts on “Does the National Health IT plan remind you of Social Security Reform?”

  1. Brailer believes that private enterprise (e.g., IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.) will take up the IT challenge. He too is wary of large government. It is my understanding that he thinks that government does play a role in stimulating and focusing the private sector into action. Given that it costs GM $1,500 per car to maintain its workers and pensioners healthcare benefits, I believe that the private sector will have to take action. Unfortunately, like the Chrysler of our past, organizations with a healthcare crunch might just end up forcing the Federal Government into a bail out.

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