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More on the Coming "Health-Care Racism"

A reader writes in:

I just read your last post on disparities. I work for the organization that will be tasked with convening a group that develops national priorities, and I can tell you that the charge is completely bogus. We regard reducing disparities as crucial to achieving the six priorities we identified: care coordination, palliative care (aka death panels), patient engagement, population health, safety and overuse. Most of the work on disparities doesn’t even have to do with a redistribution of resources, it can be as simple as a program that give patients culturally and linguistically appropriate information. In fact, a lot of disparities provisions will actually lower costs. For example, many hospitals that have high readmission rates are in underserved communities.

I've long thought it would be nice if politicians had a bit more contact with the bureaucrats they talk about. It's a bit hard to demonize a bureaucrat's work when you know the person doing it.

A good example of this came in this post Ben Domenech wrote outlining the crucial role the NIH plays in drug innovation. Ideologically, Domenech isn't the sort you'd expect to see diving in to defend the good work of government employees. But he spent some time at HHS as a speechwriter, met the people and developed an authentic appreciation for their role. Would that more politicians did the same. I'd actually pay money to see a discussion between Sarah Palin and some of the people who actually work on palliative care issues for Medicare.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 2:56 PM ET
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you must have too much money.

Posted by: bdballard | August 19, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

what bdballard said plus you must also have no life

Posted by: goadri | August 19, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Putting myself in the shoes of the right-wing loonies, I imagine that the impending healthcare racism argument would be more along the lines of it's racist, wrong, un-American, etc. to offer linguistically and culturally appropriate information. The idea is that such approaches are "special treatment," even if it shows up as budget neutral (no re-distribution of resources).

Posted by: slyc | August 20, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

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