HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, April 2, 2007

Government Health Care

Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly posts an interesting question about government and its involvement in the health care system.  He refers to a recent LA Times article by Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths Betsy McCaughey discusses favorably the VA health system.  Mr. Drum focuses on the use of computer physician  (CPOE), which involves "a doctor enters the prescription at a computer terminal instead of scribbling it on a pad. The computer identifies incorrect doses or a medication that conflicts with other meds the patient is taking. If the computer sounds an alarm, the physician has to override it."  Not surprisingly, hospitals in many countries have adopted this technology but the article not in the United States with the exception of the VA.   This lack of adoption causes Mr. Drum to ask: 

Question for the free market crowd: if you oppose national healthcare because you think it will reduce the pace of medical innovation, how do you explain this? Why is it that the VA and the national healthcare systems in Europe have all adopted this plainly useful innovation but American hospitals mostly haven't?

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