Reuters reported yesterday how the U.S. Senate is nearing a bipartisan plan for health care reform. Baucus brought out the percentages again: 85 – 90% chance we’ll pass something meaningful health care reform. Interesting…Because the USA Today states that there is “discord” growing over health reform. And a third opinion from Time magazine. Also, have questions? Check out the Managed Care Matters round-up info page on health care reform.
Check out the Our Bodies, Our Blog post about the recent Our Bodies Ourselves position paper that supports a single-payer system. In addition, Judy Norsigian and Jennifer Potter wrote a piece about the single-payer option being the best option. Some New York residents came out to speak about health care reform – many elected officials stating they fully support a single-payer system, and won’t support anything that doesn’t include a public option. This event was hosted by NW Bronx for Change and the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democrats and happened on June 13th. Read the full account here. Howard Dean (D – VT, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee) came out against the co-op option put forward by Kent Conrad.
Yesterday President Barack Obama spoke to the American Medical Association, an organization that has a membership of 1/3rd of American doctors and has come out against the public option in health care reform multiple times over its history. He called on the “cost of inaction” being a bigger bill than the reform he and Congress have been talking about. Paying for this overhaul continues to be the biggest issue on the plates of House and Senate committees, and is the biggest issue the President faces in his struggle to stay true to campaign promises. Read the full article from the New York Times here.
Affordability and accessibility are the goals for health care reform. Pelosi stands behind a public option that offers these things – she’s denied support for the co-op option and other plans that exclude an explicitly federally-backed public option. She says there aren’t enough votes to pass health care reform without a public option. And, Kent Conrad (D – ND) has come out saying that there aren’t the votes to pass health care reform with a public option. So now what?! According to Conrad, the Co-Op Option:
There has been a lot of talk recently around the cooperative option. In an attempt to bridge the gap between conservatives who are against any kind of government control of a health care option and liberals who are interested in just that, Kent Conrad (D – ND) has come up with a seemingly in-between option: the co-op. This idea is based on the non-profit model of a state, regional, or national group of individuals and small-businesses that buy into a non-profit cooperative that elects a board of coordinators and a CEO, and that “company” will compete with other private insurers. Criticisms include the fear that they will not have the purchasing power that the government-backed option would have and that they wouldn’t be able to compete with big insurance companies. Personally, I find it hard to accept an option that has come out of trying to compromise but now doesn’t really meet anyone’s requirements for an accessible, competitive, solid option for those who can’t afford a private insurance plan. Also, Conrad has stated to Ezra Klein in the interview they did together that some “kind of like it” and others are “intrigued by it”. Doesn’t sound very convincing. Check out some articles written about the co-op option from all corners:
Firstly, a primer on health care reform from the Kaiser Foundation. Check this website out for information on the key issues and concepts involved in the debate.
The Obama-started Organizing for America and other groups and coalitions have put in a bunch of work to promote the President’s health care reform agenda. Read the Washington Post article here.
This column about maternal and infant health outlines the various studies that have happened recently that dissect the decline in hospital-based obstetric care available to rural American populations. The total number of hospitals has declined since the 1980s, and a number of factors have caused decreases in doctors and institutions offering obstetric care. Difficulties in the staffing of health care professionals, rising malpractice insurance premiums, and disparities in payments due to a high proportion of rural communities being on Medicaid are all reasons hospitals cut down on obstetric care. Read the full article here.