Sometimes, it's the little things that make us thankful.
Now that the political convention hoopla and the silly Macarena music finally have died down, it's time for the presidential candidates to get serious about healthcare and the other issues at hand.
Unfortunately, most politicians like to stay safely away from healthcare. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example, discovered the inherent danger of tackling reform. Both remain on the slow road to political recovery after finding that Americans expect unlimited healthcare on demand, yet want it to cost less.
But reform of the healthcare system, especially when it comes to reducing the growth of Medicare spending and the vexing problem of 40 million uninsured citizens, is of vital importance. Yes, these issues are complicated, challenging and potentially hazardous to a politician's health. Taking realistic stands on healthcare means making tough choices, some of which may be unpopular.
Thus, keeping the issue on the front political burner will take a concerted effort by inquisitive journalists, influential healthcare trade associations and administrators interested in advancing the debate beyond demagoguery.
The fact is the two parties were not far from reaching a compromise on Medicare spending when Congress adjourned last month. As part of the six-year plan to balance the budget, the Republicans said Medicare expenditures should grow by 7.1% a year, while the Democrats countered with an offer of 6.8%.
But that's not the story we hear on the campaign stump. Then again, at least Medicare is on the docket. When it comes to dealing with the uninsured, Democrats don't want to discuss costs and Republicans don't want to discuss it at all.
The editors of MODERN HEALTHCARE pledge to ask the tough questions, but the drive for accountability requires the support and assistance of our readers. Let's keep the rascals honest.