Whitehouse on the other part of health care reform

As I just tweeted (follow me! @d_scharfenberg), the Washington Post has an interesting chat with Senator Whitehouse about the other big, underreported part of health care reform - overhauling the business model. Here's an excerp, with "SK" standing for reporter Sarah Kliff and "SW" for the senator:

SK: How quickly do you see our health care system moving from one that pays for volume, to one that pays for value? And what role will the Affordable Care Act play in that transition?

SW: You can’t force your way to delivery system reform. As Atul Gawande has said, it’s a process of experimentation and learning. And there is innovation involved in getting there.

What you have to do is create the conditions that allow that innovation to take place and propagate as quickly as possible. When counting on learning from innovation, there are great successes but also failures. The Wright Brother (sic) invented the aircraft and started an amazing process of innovation, where we now have planes that carry 500 passengers. Along the way there were some silly looking vehicles that crashed early on. We have to have some tolerance that there is going to be some error, and some missteps.

We have to trust that the path of innovation is the right one. The biggest danger is that one or two things go wrong, and they become an excuse to say ‘we give up,’ and then we’re going out there and cutting benefits


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