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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Explain the Economics

President Obama is an excellent communicator, but he hasn't done such a good job on health care reform. He has allowed his opponents to frame the debate with stories about long waits for care and terms such as "socialized medicine." To gain the upper hand, the president must spell out a positive, big-picture vision that shows how reform would benefit society as a whole.

So far, it seems, the president has spoken mainly about the 47 million Americans who lack health insurance. Indeed, it's a disturbing statistic, but it won't be enough to persuade Congress and the nation to embrace reform. President Obama has to explain his proposal in economic terms. He needs to make the public see this as a competitive issue in an increasingly global marketplace. When people become sick because of inadequate health care--when they allow minor medical problems to worsen, and subsequently they miss time at work--then American productivity suffers. Our businesses suffer and, as a result, the nation suffers.

Conversely, when companies provide proper health benefits, they tend to attract the best workers. That's one way of illustrating how good health care is good for business.

This is the kind of language the president should be using--common-sense, dollars-and-cents language. He doesn't need to attack the opposition in Washington. He should go directly to the people through TV appearances and town halls.

The rapid aging of our population adds even more urgency to the issue of health care reform. Nearly one in three Americans is at least 45 years old, and someone turns 60 every seven seconds in the U.S. As our workforce ages, it will require more and more health care. So labor costs will rise, which means the costs of production will rise. I don't hear the president talking in these terms, but he needs to--not in a negative or alarming tone, but in a way that suggests we must begin to address this major concern for the economic health of our country.

By Yash Gupta

 |  July 28, 2009; 10:51 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Dean Gupta,

I applaud your past contributions to this column, but I was a little disappointed not to see more substance in your post given the institution you represent. We all know the urgency; now is the time to talk about solutions.

Hopkins has a storied tradition of taking on major reforms in health care: from transforming medical education at the turn of the century to establishing the first public health and hygiene school.

Now, our healthcare challenges are as much financial and economic as they are scientific. As The Johns Hopkins University turns a new page with the establishment of the Carey Business School, will your school be contributing tranformative research to the health care challenges we face at the scale of your founding predecessors?

If so, how?

Posted by: cmh007 | July 30, 2009 4:11 PM
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Mr Obama and his democratic friends don't have a very good track record of honesty and accuracy when it comes to the "dollars and cents" of their welfare state.
Give us examples of countries that have prospered with welfare states --- Sweden? The UK? Give us examples of successful state health care programs as he prescribes -- Tennessee? Hawaii? How about Kennedy's home state?

This is just one huge attempt at shifting the wealth in this country via a power grab by the liberals.

Posted by: AverageJoe8 | July 30, 2009 7:51 AM
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