In advance of tonight's health care townhall with President Obama (ABC, 10 p.m. Eastern), some healthcare links:
Mr. Obama tells ABC's Diane Sawyer this morning that he is now open to imposing a mandate on individuals to buy health insurance -- the sort of mandate that, during the campaign, he criticized Hillary Clinton for supporting.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds "Most respondents are 'very concerned' that health-care reform would lead to higher costs, lower quality, fewer choices, a bigger deficit, diminished insurance coverage and more government bureaucracy. About six in 10 are at least somewhat worried about all of these factors."
The New Yorker's Atul Gawande has a post amplifying his fascinating dispatch of a few weeks back from McAllen, Texas, which is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country. Dr. Gawande is critical of the way the profit motive of individual physicians can affect care and system-wide health expenses, and touts the Mayo Clinic as an example of how making sure "the doctors' goal in patient care couldn't be increasing their income" led to high-quality, lower-cost care. Dr. Gawande's view sounds anti-capitalist at first; an op-ed piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal claimed "smaller practices provide better patient care than larger practices," which contradicts Dr. Gawande's praise of Mayo. But it's worth remembering that the late, great, longtime editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Robert L. Bartley, was a trustee of the Mayo Clinic. Bartley was hardly an anti-capitalist. So Dr. Gawande may be on to something.