Who will improve our health care blues?

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Today’s Globe editorial lays out the health care riffs of the Democratic presidential bluesmasters, noting some pretty big refrains: $90 to $120 billion for John “Pretty Boy” Edwards and $50 to $65 billion for “Sweet Talk” Barack Obama. Seems everyone’s in love with the Massachusetts mandate. Edwards, the Globe reports, would

require that everyone obtain health insurance, a national version of the individual mandate that takes effect in Massachusetts July 1. Businesses would have to offer insurance or make contributions (amount not specified) so workers could get it on their own.

When I hear riffs like these, it makes me want to run, or to stay in tune, uh, go “down to the station, suitcase in my hand.”

I have to say that I find all of this top-down fix-it routine a bit like trying to shore up a threadbare nut by forcing another nut on top of it. Dumb idea in the first place, but even if by luck it worked in the short term, there is no way it can hold over time. Much more refreshing and frankly honest to listen to a non-governmental type like Adam Bosworth, VP at Google, Inc.

In a speech he gave to the 2007 American Medical Association of Informatics (AMIA), he laid out three principles for an effective health care system:

* Discovery – Consumers should be able to discover the most relevant health information possible
* Action – Consumers should have direct access to personalized services to help them get the best and most convenient possible health support
* Community – Consumers should be able to learn from and educate those in similar health circumstances and from their health practitioners

Even better than a vision (again, the talk is always fun but…), he lays out how to get there. Pretty impressive and consumer-based, as you might expect from a person who lives to deliver the goods to millions of Google consumers. For the full speech, click here.