America must get its healthcare costs under control, and former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill has strong ideas about how to do that.
Paul's take away on healthcare: Cut waste. Here's what he had to say:
For what Ryan, Simpson-Bowles and Obama have said about healthcare reform, I say, "A pox on all of your plans!" Here's the reason: Right now in the American healthcare system we have $1 trillion worth of waste. Out of the $2.5 trillion we're spending, $1 trillion of it shouldn't be spent. So what's this made up of?
1.7 million Americans get an infection when they go into a care-giving facility. We and others have demonstrated in different places around the country that it's possible to eliminate hospital-acquired infections.
There are 300 million medication errors in this country every year. I've been advocating that we should require care-giving facilities every day at 8:00 in the morning to hook up to the Internet and post newly-identified, hospital-acquired infections along with patient and medication errors.
If we posted all the medication errors every day, it would be between 700,000 and 800,000 identified medication errors every day. Now we know how to solve those and other problems of waste in health care.
None of the politicians seem to be interested in productivity improvement. They all want to cut some of these benefits, or take some more taxes from the people to pay for the system as it is, instead of attacking the fundamentals in their productivity that could make all this stuff go away.
The political people don't seem to understand something I know from running an industrial company. If you don't want to cut jobs or cut people's salaries, but you want to be the best in the world, the way to do it is to be as close to perfect in everything you do as possible.
So there's an opportunity here. Our society needs to improve the efficiency of healthcare.