'What this country needs is more unemployed politicians - and economists'
ORLANDO, Fla., May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Although nearly all voters place health care at the top of their "most-important issues" list, a looming federal budgetary crunch means none of the health care plans advanced by any of the current presidential candidates is likely to become law anytime soon, says former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
Jousting with Princeton University Health care Economist Uwe Reinhardt today at the Medco Health Solutions (NYSE: MHS) National Drug Trend Symposium held here, Frist told attendees, "If we don't do something about this in the future, your American Dream -- your earning capacity -- is gone."
Reflecting back to Babe Ruth's legendary "pointing prediction" for a home run in the 1932 World Series, Frist suggested the presidential candidates also now taking their turns at bat, floating varied versions of health care reform, but, "the question is where are they pointing to?"
"Elections matter," Frist said, adding that, "Legislating is a complicated process and legislation takes a long time to pass." Frist, as Senate Majority Leader, was a driving force behind legislation to modernize Medicare. He said the next president would be hamstrung by the "pay-as-you-go" realities of the federal budgetary process.
Reinhardt, who mentored Frist as a Princeton undergraduate, poked fun at his student-turned transplant surgeon-turned politician fired back: "Given that I taught him to do health policy right, why didn't he do it?"
"Americans suffer a mental condition called cognitive dissonance," said Reinhardt, adding that although voters claim to decry socialized medicine, that's the system currently used to treat our veterans. "Don't we like our veterans?"
With a safety net already in place for the impoverished and seniors, Reinhardt advocated focusing on the working poor -- families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 a year.
"Healthcare currently for family of four costs about $15,500 a year. The problem is that one in four workers makes less than $22,000 a year," he said. "This doesn't really compute. We've never helped hard-working people who make our lives so comfortable."
Frist, who insisted that, "God created economists for one reason: to
make the weather forecasters look good," unveiled a series of predictions
for the future of healthcare in America:
-- "The transformation in health care must be private sector-driven and
should be patient-centered, provider-friendly and consumer-driven."
-- "The goal is affordable healthcare for every single American ... we
can't have a nation as rich as we are today and deny affordability."
-- "This needs to be driven by 21st Century information, driven by choice,
to drive higher quality and lower costs."
Frist closed, adding: "What this country needs is more unemployed politicians -- and economists."
Medco Health Solutions, Inc., (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2007 total net revenues of more than $44 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering approximately one-in-five Americans, are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy health care for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, and for individuals served by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program and those served by its specialty pharmacy segment, Accredo Health Group. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(TM), is positioned to serve the unique needs of patients with chronic and complex conditions through its Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R), including its enhanced diabetes pharmacy care practice through the Liberty acquisition. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2008 Fortune 100 list. On the Net: http://www.medco.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward- looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
|SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.|
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