Health care is part of the debate and discussion regarding the fiscal cliff and how the federal government might solve its near and long-term economic problems.
Wharton Health Care Management Professor Jonathan Kolstad said that while there are health-care issues in resolving the immediate problem of the fiscal cliff, the long-term problem of deciding how the nation pays for health care extends beyond the Nov. 6 election and the Jan. 2 deadline.
“Perhaps you can use the near-term negotiations to look for ways structure future costs, but if you come at it from a budgetary perspective, those are very blunt instruments,” Kolstad said.
Kolstad said that reform of payment systems and the often-conflicting incentives for doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and patients are the difficult long-term challenges, and unlike other businesses. Everybody wanting more from the system while paying less makes for difficult math.