By BRI Chapter student member John Grimsley, Georgetown University
On Tuesday September 16th , 2014, the Benjamin Rush Institute Chapter at Georgetown University enthusiastically welcomed Dr. Robert F. Graboyes, a senior research fellow for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He delivered a thought provoking, educational lecture centered on a strategy to improve healthcare. Graboyes argues that neither the ACA, nor the Republican plan of “repeal and replace” will significantly change healthcare. He highlights that both approaches only seek to address one aspect of the healthcare system, insurance. Rather than simply asking how can we increase insurance coverage (increase demand), Graboyes believes we must work towards providing better care to more people at a lower cost (increase supply and quality). To this end he reasons that barriers to innovation must be removed.
Graboyes maintains that healthcare today is where computers were in 1964. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other great innovators started changing the technological landscape out of their garages (the frontier). However, little innovation was generated from the likes of IBM (the fortress). While healthcare is poised for a transformation similar to what has occurred in technology sector over the past 40 years, the fortress institutions are slowing the pace of innovation. Removing barriers to innovation that only serve the fortress, could allow the frontier to rapidly innovate, thereby reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality of care. Graboyes does not believe we get there with a large, comprehensive healthcare bill. Rather, he argues for “a strategy akin to America’s Pacific Theater strategy in World War II — reform healthcare island by island, taking down hundreds of ACA and pre-ACA obstacles to better healthcare.”
Overall Graboyes presented a refreshing, outside the box approach to addressing the problems in healthcare. However atypical this strategy, it is one we should embrace, as it has proven successful in other industries and unites people from all political spectrums. By removing barriers to innovation and allowing the frontier to drastically alter the landscape of healthcare, we could quickly create a market where many have access to the highest quality care available.
For more information about Dr. Graboyes and his work, please click on these links.