On June 5, Cindy Pearson, NWHN Executive Director, will be part of a women’s health roundtable at the White House. The roundtable is being convened by Nancy Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform. DeParle has asked Cindy and a select group of leaders in women’s health to talk with her health care reform and how best to meet women’s needs. Cindy will be representing both NWHN, and the Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need initiative (RWV).
NWHN and RWV believe that health care policy must take into account the needs of women, their families and their communities. We’re ready to tell President Obama and Ms. DeParle that women need health care that is affordable, high quality, and can’t be taken away because of illness, job loss or divorce. Women need comprehensive health care across the lifespan, with no exclusions of reproductive health services. Health care reform needs to be a vehicle for improving the health of the public, and reducing disparities in care and outcomes.
You can watch the meeting on the White House website. Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov<http://www.whitehouse.gov/> or http://www.healthreform.gov<http://www.healthreform.gov/> this Friday, June 5, from 11-12:30 for live coverage. Video of the meeting may also be available afterwards.
An article from the New York Times yesterday discusses the need for reform in not just the individual market, but reform in the employer-based market as well. Many insurance companies in the industry are willing to make rating and pre-existing condition concessions in the individual market, but not necessarily for small employers. Some companies have stated that they need to be “relatively consistent” and that they are prepared to start making concessions in both markets, others have said that there doesn’t need to be a change in the small business market. They assert that these markets are well-regulated by the states. Considering the small business market is one of the most profitable for insurance companies, it makes sense they would say this.
However, small business owners say the system now is “designed to be expensive” and is unsustainable and in desperate need of reform. Over one half of the 50 million uninsured in this country work for small businesses or are self-employed. Without reform, these individuals wouldn’t get affordable coverage. They would continue to be subjected to age and health ratings, pre-existing condition exclusions, and high premiums. We can do better then that.
“Inclusive, collaborative but with long-term objectives in mind”: the Obama strategy for health care reform
Sam Stein from the Huffington Post wrote an article previewing the expected larger article in the New York Times Magazine out on Sunday. He overviews the complexity of Washington and how the Obama administration has gone about setting the stage for a communicative attempt at health care reform. From aides to chiefs of staff, there is quite a bit of overlap between the Hill and the White House, hopefully enough to avoid the Clinton-era mistake of closed doors and non-collaboration. We’ll see, I suppose.
President sets timetable, expresses willingness to consider taxing benefits, and conveys urgency
Yesterday the New York Times reported on the meeting in the White House on Tuesday between Barack Obama and a group of high-level Democratic senators. The President came out in support of the government-sponsored public option in health reform, but recognized the chances this would discourage Republican support. The President also reaffirmed his timeline – asking for a comprehensive bill from Congress by October of this year. Unfortunately, the President also stated he “might consider” taxing employer-provided health benefits. The inclusion of this funding option is strongly opposed by labor unions and many employers. However, the administration seems to think this may be one of the only ways to fund an expansion of coverage. From a related article in the Washington Post:
“”The president made it clear during the campaign that he has serious concerns about taxing health-care benefits, and he has introduced his own revenue proposal, which he reiterated in today’s meeting,” spokesman Reid Cherlin said.”
Skeptics about the short time table for health care reform
The Wall Street Journal today published an article clearly unimpressed with the accelerated time table that President Obama and ranking members of congress have set for health care reform…
“It’s not hard to see why Democrats are trying to hew to this full-speed-ahead timetable. Their health overhaul will run up a 13-figure price tag at a time when spending and deficits are already at epic levels and hook up the middle class to an intravenous drip of government health subsidies for generations to come. These are not realities that Democrats want the American people to mull over for very long.”
Read this and other opinion articles here.
This is clearly not going to be easy, and can it be successful?
CQ Politics published an article today about the importance and the difficulties of health care reform. How are we going to offer universal coverage and save money? There are clear party lines on this issue, and it looks like the debate will get worse before it gets better.