When a party loses the majority, it often goes “into the wilderness” to find itself and develop new policy ideas, anoint new political and intellectual leaders, and rebuild a brain trust to lead it back to power.
Drug benefit urged in health reform – The Hill
Big-time health reform may be high on the Democratic agenda, but advocates for expansions of Medicare’s prescription-drug benefit are scaling back their expectations.
Focus on facts in health-care debate – The Des Moines Register
Late last year, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus released a blueprint on health reform that will likely guide lawmakers in drafting legislation. This committee has jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid and tax policy. As the ranking member, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley will be in the thick of the debate over reforming this country’s health-care system.
Republicans Praise Government-Run Health Care … For Veterans – Think Progress
A bipartisan group of lawmakers and prominent veterans groups are outraged over an Obama administration proposal — currently under consideration — to allow third-party insurance companies to pay for combat-related injuries. The proposal would “save the Department of Veterans Affairs $530 million a year,” but critics argue that asking private insurers to pick up the tab for combat injuries is not just immoral but also economically disastrous. The private insurers could jack up premiums, families could lose coverage if a veteran meets the maximum benefit amount for their insurance, and insurers could deny claims if a veteran is insured through the individual market, deny coverage etc…
Never thought I’d get to write that headline. But it’s true. The current Chairman of America’s Health Insurance Plans is George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente. Halvorson also serves on the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System, which just released a plan called “The 2020 Vision.” You can download the plan here. I did. And I can give it a recommendation I can rarely offer to health reform proposals: The contents surprise.
Private Insurers, Not So Efficient – The New Republic
The rationale for letting Medicare recipients enroll in private plans has always been that the private plans offere innovation and efficiency not available in the traditional, government-run plan. But the numbers have always told a different story. It costs the government more, not less, every time a Medicare beneficiary enrolls in one of the private Medicare Advantage plans. (Medicare Advantage is the private fee-for-service option created as part of the legislation that launched the Medicare drug benefit.)
Yesterday, during a Congressional hearing on health care reform, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) challenged health care crisis denier Sally Pipes on her academic credentials. Pipes assured Braley that she was indeed a health care “scholar” who had been published in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs.