Donald Rubin and Health Care Reform

Question: What’s your vision for health care reform in the US?

Rubin:    My vision should be more community health centers, many, many more.  More HMOs, really control over pharmaceuticals and the price of pharmaceuticals.  You know, you could buy, you’re able to buy medicine at 30%, 40% or 50 % by going to Canada for the same pills and then they outlawed it, they outlawed it and then Congress passed a law and was vetoed by the President to require generics, just requiring generic medication for reimbursement purposes not outlawing for anything except for reimbursement could save the American people and government a huge fortune.  And I’m very pessimistic about the time it’s going to take to restructure it and the vested interests and the lobbyists, and it’s so ripe with doing things the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.  I mean, we built, we built the first medical PPO, you know, I think the first big national-wide PPO in the country and the PPO contracts with doctors and hospitals and labs and surgery centers and negotiates discounts with them and then so was that as a service to health and welfare funds and insurance companies.  The first 10 years we made basically worked for self-insured union funds and some employee funds, and then after 10 years, we start getting the big insurance companies.

Question: What are the challenges to universal health care in the US?

Rubin:    Everybody hates the healthcare system but they like their own doctor and they can’t put the connection between their own doctors as a [cog] in the healthcare system.  But the doctor is influenced by the pharmaceuticals.  One of the biggest lobbyists after defense in America is the drug and the medical lobby in America and they want to profit, but in getting profit, they are pushing for a lot of things that are not medically necessary.

Donald Rubin on building community health centers.

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