March 3rd, 2010

March 3: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Emphasize cost issue in next attempt at health reform

2009 was an exhausting year for Americans concerned about the 16 percent of GDP consumed by our present health care non-system. Thank God for the patriots of Massachusetts who have given us a pause to reconsider.

 

Before we entered the legislative jungle, the two compelling drivers for reform were cost increases and the uninsured. They are compelling in very different ways. Continued cost increases of 100 percent like the last 10 years and premium increases of 100 percent in just eight years will hasten the bankruptcy of Medicare and Medicaid… Many citizens support major reform but are alarmed by the short legislative process, new taxes, subsidies and personal or business impact. All this and yet the CBO, Mayo Clinic and others maintain that this legislation will not reduce or control costs.

 

Since present federal programs already cover the 30 percent of Americans with highest medical needs and expend about $1.1 trillion, it would be sensible to combine them all. This alone would produce simplification, reduce bureaucracy and lower administration costs. The Mayo Clinic and others have pleaded to "fix Medicare first" and continue private insurance.

 

Springfield News-Leader, 3/10/2010

 

 

 

TOP STORIES

Obama To Push Health Care Overhaul Into Final Act

Reuters

March 3, 2010

 

Today at 1:45 EST, the President is due to make a statement at the White House urging Congress to move swiftly toward a vote on legislation.

 

Daschle:  Incremental Health Reforms Won’t Work

Kaiser Health News

March 3, 2010

In a recent Q&A with Kaiser Health News, Tom Daschle said ‘I tell audiences all over the country, if this passes we're on the 30-yard line, we've got 70 yards to go to accommodate really significant change in the system, adequate enough to be able to say we've addressed cost, access and quality in a meaningful way.'

Health Reform’s Reconciliation Ref - Alan Frumin

Time

March 3, 2010

 

When it comes to the complex budgetary procedure known as reconciliation, Alan Frumin is "the defense counsel, he's the prosecution, he's the judge, he's the jury and he's the hangman,"

INSURANCE

Lawmakers Expand Investigation Into Health Insurance Rate Hikes

The Los Angeles Times

March 3, 2010

 

The scope of a congressional investigation into health insurance rate hikes in California expanded as lawmakers summoned the chief executives of four of the nation's largest for-profit health insurers to testify about medical claims denied for individuals with preexisting conditions.

 

 

TRANSPARENCY/SAFETY

The Riverboat Gamble of This Generation

The Wall Street Journal - Op-Ed

March 3, 2010

 

Just as the Reagan supply-side economics policy, which depended on lowering tax rates to increase productivity, became synonymous with the Republican Party, so too will the health care overhaul be firmly affixed to Democratic aspirants chests.

 

The Health Reform Debate is Political Theatre Worth Watching

The Washington Post - Op-Ed

March 3, 2010

 

The gridlock now clutching Washington is unacceptable, health care reform is now about the November election.

 

What is the Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs From Age 65

Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

March 3, 2010

 

Link to a brief outlining the findings of new research that calculates the distribution of lifetime health care costs.

 

 

STATE NEWS

Plan Offered to Break Impasse on Health Care in Minnesota

The Star Tribune

March 3, 2010

 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and state Republican legislative leaders said they have produced a plan to break the impasse over providing health insurance for the state's poorest and sickest residents.

 

Coverage Switch Urged for Localities

The Boston Globe

March 3, 2010

 

Massachusetts cities and towns would save tens of millions of dollars in health care costs for employees, retirees, and elected officials by joining the state's much larger, more flexible health care system.

 

 

REFORM EFFORTS

Democrats Eye Health Care Finish

Roll Call

March 3, 2010

 

With President Barack Obama poised today to roll out his final strategy for passing health care reform, House and Senate Democrats are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their endgame, trying to make sure the stars align perfectly for what is likely their only shot at passing an overhaul this year.

 

Political Punch

ABC News

March 2, 2010

 

President Obama will use reconciliation to pass Senate health care reform fix if not given the up or down vote.

 

Democrats Chase Health Care Votes

The Wall Street Journal

March 3, 2010

 

At least a half-dozen House Democrats who voted against the health care bill say they are now undecided.

 

Nelson Defends Senate Health Bill, Signals Strong Backing for Reform

The Hill

March 3, 2010

 

Sen. Ben Nelson, who withheld his support for the Senate-passed health care reform bill strongly hinted that he is prepared to back the final push to finish the job this spring.

 

Obama Offers to Use Some G.O.P Health Proposals

The New York Times

March 3, 2010

 

President Obama offered to address some of the concerns expressed by Republicans in the health care debate as the two parties maneuvered for advantage heading into the legislative end game.

 

Additional Coverage

As Democrats Seek to Push Through Health Bill, Obama Reaches Out to Republicans - The Washington Post

 

 

EMPLOYERS

‘Blue Dog’ Democrats Need to Act Now on Health Care

The Washington Post - Op-Ed

March 3, 2010

 

If the Blue Dogs stuck together, they could insist that health care reform be made more responsible than the version recently endorsed by President Obama - in particular, the tax on expensive employer-provided health care plans.

 

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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