During a four-minute interview with Athena Health CEO Jonathan Bush on Thursday's CBS This Morning about his new book, Where Does It Hurt?, suggesting reforms to the health care system, none of the hosts bothered to bring up ObamaCare or its failures. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bush, nephew of former President George H.W. Bush and cousin of former president George W. Bush, even provided the perfect opportunity to bring up President Obama's health care law, warning against "another great top-down fix" of the industry and instead wanting to "invite entrepreneurs to come into health care."
At the top the segment, co-host Norah O'Donnell noted: "...a study finds 42% of physicians are unhappy with their medical practices and 59% would not encourage a young person to go into the field." Fellow co-host Gayle King wondered: "So why are the doctors so dissatisfied?" Neither of them mentioned the possibility of ObamaCare's onerous regulations being a factor in that dissatisfaction.
Near the end of the exchange, King highlighted Bush's presidential family members and pressed him: "We keep talking about your political dynasty....you've been working on this for years, why didn't you talk to your relatives about doing something? Why didn't you take them this idea?"
Bush replied: "Our family's got a pretty iron-clad, unspoken but widely understood rule that, you know, family doesn't lobby....don't trade on it."
Here is a full transcript of the May 15 segment:
8:15 AM ET
NORAH O'DONNELL: In our Morning Rounds, the business of health care. Medicine is thought of as a profession that helps people, but a study finds 42% of physicians are unhappy with their medical practices and 59% would not encourage a young person to go into the field.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Business of Medicine; Jonathan Bush on Fixing Healthcare System]
GAYLE KING: So why are the doctors so dissatisfied? Athena Health co-founder and CEO is Jonathan Bush, he says it has to do with how the health care industry is run. He's the author of a new book called Where Does It Hurt? It outlines his solution for fixing health care in the United States. Jonathan Bush joins us at the table. Hey, Jonathan Bush.
JONATHAN BUSH: Thank you guys for having me. I'm flattered.
KING: You say that most hospitals, like, you pay for the rich experience but what you get is below going to the YMCA, that hospitals are like an old department store. What do you mean?
BUSH: Well, first of all, hospitals are extraordinary in a lot of ways. If we get hurt – when you think about how many people were harmed at the marathon bombing up in our town in Boston last year and none of them – not one who didn't die instantly – died after that. Hospitals are amazing that way.
BUSH: But not everything is a bombing, not everything is an emergency surgery. And we need to get better at building focused branded experiences for the part of health care that isn't an emergency so that we can shop for it, so that it can be product-managed, so that we can actually feel good about something that's now costing us all 18% of our life's work.
ANTHONY MASON: What does that mean exactly? Are you talking about hospitals essentially becoming specialty stores? In other words, focusing on one thing?
BUSH: Hospitals will start to – they'll either focus on being a general store, and they'll be fewer of them, or, yes, they'll focus on specialty stores and there'll be the red-carpet colonoscopy that happens quickly right when you're ready. You know, they'll be the half-price one that happens at midnight when the machines are all empty. Those kinds of things can happen within the legal framework that we have, within the environment that we have.
And so rather than another great top-down fix, I'd like to invite entrepreneurs to come into health care and to invite the inner entrepreneur in everyone who's already there to come out and show their flag.
O'DONNELL: So you're the CEO of Athena Health. What do you do?
BUSH: So Athena Health is trying to create the health care cloud. Just the way Amazon kind of made us all feel safe and reliable about doing retail shopping on the internet, we're working to make it easy and safe to exchange medical records on the internet. So if the better place for the mammogram is off across town, I get my mammogram but my doctor over here can instantly see it without me going around with envelopes, which happens so much today.
So we're getting there. We have 50 million patients on one big cool health care cloud that's totally secure, 50,000 doctors and growing. And hopefully that'll be the enabling layer that lets people really become entrepreneurs, focused factory builders.
MASON: How much do you think we could really bring down the cost of medicine if we- ?
BUSH: Oh, my heavens. I mean, we shouldn't bring it all the way down to what we could – which would be, you know, well under half of we spend – because we like to trick our stuff out, you know?
The thing about health care that's worse than how expensive it is, is that we don't get to name it, own it, it's not an expression of our humanity. You know, I can't get a really great health care and go down town and pick some great ladies with it. I can't say, "I hate this, I'm firing it," and put the money somewhere else. That's the piece that we need.
So, hey, if it just didn't get more expensive over the next few years or grew less than the GDP so that it could become a smaller piece of the pie, we'd love it. Especially if we could start to feel like it's ours more.
KING: We keep talking about your political dynasty. Your uncle is George H.W. Bush, your cousin is George Bush, presidents 41 and-
BUSH: I didn't think I was going to escape this show without that being discovered.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Politics & Medicine; Jonathan Bush on Healthcare & Political Dynasty]
KING: Your brother is Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.
BUSH: There's the real dynasty, absolutely, Billy Bush.
O'DONNELL: Your brother is Billy?
BUSH: Oh, my God, you see? There's the real dynasty. If you want to get a great reservation at a sold-out restaurant, you don't say, "I'm related to W.," you say Billy Bush.
KING: But Jonathan, you've been working on this for years, why didn't you talk to your relatives about doing something? Why didn't you take them this idea?
BUSH: Separation of church and state or something like that. I mean, our family's got a pretty iron-clad, unspoken but widely understood rule that, you know, family doesn't lobby, doesn't get cozy. It's a charge to keep. I think Georgie's [George W. Bush's], you know, book was great. It's not one of those things – when you're on, you're on, and we leave you there and love on you, but don't trade on it.
KING: Georgie's book.
BUSH: Yeah, originally. Excuse me, President.
KING: I like that, Georgie's book.
MASON: Jonathan Bush, thank you very much.
BUSH: It was a real pleasure. Thank you guys for reading. [Pointing to King] And thank you for such a read of the book, you read every word.
MASON: Where Does It Hurt? is on sale now.