This week’s gathering of the major health industry groups at the White House triggered several thoughts. First, the newly discovered health spending savings to come, as described, look like they are coming from the same tools and tricks already assumed in the current budget baseline.
Second, this latest non-aggression pact between a brass-knuckles administration selling Gangster Government protection and a beleaguered private health industry might simply set the latter up to become the bad cops, if not the fall guys, while taxpayers and individual healthcare consumers are left out in the cold.
And to encroach on the clinical turf of my colleague Sally Satel (non-PC, MD), there might be a diagnosis for the unusual behavior of quasi-private-sector healthcare lobbyists welcoming a takeover by their new senior partner at the White House. “Stockholm Syndrome” is a psychological response sometimes observed in abducted hostages, in which the latter begin to develop signs of loyalty to their keeper—regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed. It’s said that such victims can become emotionally attached to their victimizers, and they even will defend their captors after they are freed. On the other hand, some scholars claim that many past case histories have been distorted due to reporting bias. If you rewind the videotape of yesterday’s White House event, you might catch some subtle blinks of distress in Morse code.