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A Health Care ‘Rock Star’

In April, I had the pleasure to meet and host a health care ‘rock star’ in my office, Rosemary Gibson. Rosemary is a Senior Advisor at The Hastings Center, an Rock-star“independent, non-partisan, non-profit bioethics research institute” based in New York.

In addition to having a very impressive and powerful resume, Rosemary has written four books that provide critical insight into our health care system that is both disturbing and, quite frankly, outrageous. These extremely well-written books are co-authored by, Janardan Prasad Singh, an economist at the World Bank. After meeting with Rosemary, I quickly purchased all four books and challenged myself to find time to devour them in short order.

Rosemary Gibson’s books include:

  1. Wall of Silence: The Untold Story of the Medical Mistakes That Kill and Injure Millions of Americans.
  2. The Treatment Trap: How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent It.
  3. Medicare Meltdown: How Wall Street and Washington are Ruining Medicare and How to Fix It.
  4. The Battle Over Health Care: What Obama’s Reform Means for America’s Future.

Using her extensive knowledge, Rosemary passionately speaks the unmitigated truth about a very complex and perverse health care ‘system’ in which we all participate. As an example, Rosemary shared with me this-alarming (if not mortifying) fact about health care spending in the U.S. that was generated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

“If historical health care spending trends continue, the U.S. will be spending 99 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on health care by 2082.” That’s right – 99 percent in about 68 years! (Source: CBO. The Long-Term Outlook for Health Care Spending. Appendix D. November 2007).

Our country currently spends about 18 percent of our GDP on health care, which makes it nearly one-sixth of our existing economy. If accurate, the CBO estimate would essentially mean our entire economy would consist of health care – which is absolutely astounding!

Granted, the CBO report was published in November 2007, about three years prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet, many experts argue that the ACA was more about covering additional people under different types of health care plans (both public and private), than attempting to control the cost of health care.

Rosemary was greatly interested in our recently published white paper, ‘Voices for Value,’ on how Iowa employers view the health care provider community. 

I’m looking forward to finding new ways to collaborate with Rosemary in the future and welcome her expertise here in Iowa. Rosemary’s background and critical insight into our fractured health care system is greatly appreciated as we strive to find new opportunities to make a difference.

You will hear more about this health care ‘rock star’ in future blogs – stay tuned!

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