Baucus and health care reform primer
Here's your reading assignment:
Today, the Senate Finance Committee released the third of three health care reform "description of policy options" papers. The papers are available on the committee's web site:
Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans
Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform: Proposed Health System Savings and Revenue Options
Accompanying press releases with highlights are available here:
Since the Senator plans to report out a health care reform bill within a month or so, looking over these resources would be a worthwhile exercise.
It will be interesting to see how the dance proceeds among the various parties: Congress, the myriad interest groups that have positioned themselves inside the big tent this time around, and the White House, which has taken at least two different approaches to the whole exercise: a Presidential directive to Congress to deliver something Obama can sign that is consistent with his broad health care platform, and closer staff contact meant to ensure that something workable actually gets crafted and passed, not only in the senate but in the House as well.
Much has been said in recent weeks about the public plan option, and whether it will go by the boards in order to appease vested interests. Adding a public plan option to the Massachusetts Connector-like exchange is appealing, though, and it can be structured in a way that doesn't undercut private plans and send us directly into ... socialism.
And finally, the elephant in the room is the question of how the dang thing will actually be financed. The $2 trillion White House announcement and almost immediate backpedaling by the Administration's "partners" last week do not bode well, nor does last week's Washington Post article on the creative accounting used to come up with early estimates of savings linked to widespread EHR use .... Eliminating or limiting the deduction for health benefits could help close the gap, and some EHR-related savings may be out there, but as they say: not bloody likely.
Read up and stay tuned.