Max Baucus (D – Montana, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) stated yesterday that he regrets not giving more attention to single-payer proponents in the debate around health care reform.
“Baucus has faced sustained pressure from advocates of so-called single-payer health care, a system in which government is the sole provider of health insurance. And concession that it was a mistake not to include single payers is notable shift for the lead Senate negotiator on health care.”
Single-payer advocates had been excluded from the conversation because many politicians and commentators have stated that a single-payer option is not feasible. Though this may very well be the case and many agree that single payer health reform may be unlikely, it is critical to hear a multitude of opinions and strategies in a fully democratic and open process. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and a plethora of provider and activist groups are fighting for the single-payer option. It has been speculated that the movement has been “emboldened” by their exclusion from the discussion. A related article here.
The Washington Post today reported on President Obama’s new interest in a national mandate (similar to the mandate in Massachusetts) requiring all citizens to have health insurance. This had previously been something he had criticized other presidential candidates for during the campaign. He says that the committees working on health reform are “moving towards a principle of shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the costs” and that a mandate may be the way to go. Read the full article by Ceci Connolly here.
John Iglehart gives a super accessible synopsis of the recent developments on the Hill and in the White House on health care reform. He highlights the five Congressional committees whose job it is to make health care reform happen, and he talks straight about the finances involved. Check it out at the New England Journal of Medicine website here.
Restructuring care delivery and moving toward universal coverage are two of the goals Michael Porter talks about in his opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine from yesterday. He says:
“Good outcomes that are achieved efficiently are the goal, not the false “savings” from cost shifting and restricted services. Indeed, the only way to truly contain costs in health care is to improve outcomes: in a value-based system, achieving and maintaining good health is inherently less costly than dealing with poor health.”
Check out the full article here.