Really Understanding Health Care Policy

As someone who has tried very hard and only intermittently succeeded in keeping up with the deeper trends in health care policy, I’ve become an admirer of WaMo’s own Phil Longman, who wrote three major pieces in 2013 on what might be called the hidden challenges of the U.S. health care system. The first, in our March/April issue, was about the heavy Republican investment in protecting wasteful forms of health care spending, despite all the rhetoric about costs, as exemplified in the GOP battle against cost effectiveness research. The second, in the July/August issue, exposed the role of heavily subsidized teaching hospitals in skewing priorities in the health care system. And the third, in the current issue, focuses on the growing wave of hospital mergers and the potentially devastating impact that might have on health care costs.

These pieces add to a body of work by Phil on health care issues that goes back for years (viz. his 2011 piece on Medicare reform, and his rightly famous 2005 piece on the VA health system.

Supporting Phil Longman’s work is another reason to consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Washington Monthly. Superficial takes on health care policy these days are a dime a dozen. Phil’s insight is truly priceless.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.