Monday, August 31, 2009

Making Health Care Reform "Deficit Neutral" Accomplishes Little--So Why Is That the President's Health Care Reform Budget Objective?

For me, one of the more amazing things about this health care debate is the way the press and many advocates of health care reform have accepted the notion that the fiscal objective should be to pass a health care bill that is "deficit neutral."With health care costs unsustainable, why is that an appropriate goal?Deficit neutral means that any impact of a health care bill on the federal budget

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bob Bennett Wants to Turn "Control of Our Health Insurance System Over to the Government"–-Say What?

That’s what the Club for Growth is saying about Senator Bob Bennett’s health care proposals.Apparently, the Club for Growth has a reading comprehension problem. Or, are they just trying to twist the truth about the Utah Republican's health care efforts? The Wyden-Bennett Healthy Americans Act has to be the most pro-market health care reform proposal on the table.First, it does not have the

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Health Reform Bills Would Be Great For the Business Of Health Care

Have you noticed how none of the big health care business special interests is running any negative health care reform ads? Why should they when each is poised to gain billions of dollars from it?As President Barack Obama has said many times, any health care bill that costs about $1 trillion would be paid for, roughly half and half, with savings in the health care system and new revenues (taxes).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Health Care Reforms Deeper Problems

by BRIAN KLEPPER and DAVID C. KIBBENote: We were asked by Northeast Florida's regional newspaper, the Florida Times-Union, to write a piece for lay audiences distilling our thoughts on what's behind the reform curtain. This piece published this week and, while we doubt much of it will be news to this blog’s readers, we wanted to offer it up as a summary statement.Congress' health care reform

Monday, August 24, 2009

There Will Not Be Health Care Reform in 2009 Without Republican Leadership

I will suggest that there is an opportunity for the Republicans to score a huge political and policy win. It can be done in a bipartisan way and it can be done in a way that does not sell out the core principles that either Republicans or Democrats believe in.It would require a new effort—a clean sheet—this time initiated by the Republicans.The Republicans have won August. No doubt about it. But

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Splitting the Bills? The Democratic Leadership and the White House Staff Really Need a Vacation

The latest word is that the Democratic leadership and the White House see a “60% chance” they will split their health care bill into two parts—one a budget bill that would be eligible for the 51-vote Senate rule and the other the operational non-budget portions that will need 60 votes. This is all intended to get around the Byrd Rule—which allows the use of reconciliation

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Obama Admistration Would Do Well to Read the Senate Rules and the Polls

The latest reports are that the White House is getting ready to ditch any thoughts about a bipartisan health care bill and just ram the Democratic bills through the Senate with bare majorities. Readers of this blog know that I don’t think it is ever possible to ram anything so big as health care through with slim Congressional majorities and even less public support. I

Monday, August 17, 2009

Co-Ops Are the Single Dumbest Idea I Have Heard in the Health Care Debate in Twenty Years

This is a repost from June 23--sort of like regifting...I am sure you have heard the story about the committee that was charged with designing a horse but, because of the bureaucratic ways of the committee process, instead ended up creating a camel.We will not see a Medicare-like public health plan as part of any health care reform bill in 2009. I know proponents don’t want to hear that but it is

The Other National Universal Systems of Care Are Not Our Problem

You can't have an American health care debate without plenty of trashing of single payer systems elsewhere.I am not a single-payer advocate. I believe it is simplistic to think that if we just had one and eliminated the duplicate expenses multiple payers bring with them everything would be OK.I think a single-payer solution is simplistic because it misses the different histories that have gone on

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Are Democrats Getting Ready to Ditch the Public Option? But They Would Still Be Challenged by the Trillion Dollar Price Tag

It looks to me like the popular objections to a health care bill being expressed by voters this month are concentrated in two primary areas:A concern about “government control of the health care system”—mostly around the public plan option.The trillion-dollar cost of a health care bill at a time deficits are swelling and worries about who will really end up paying for it.As a result of the first

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You Call This a Health Care Debate?

Any of us who do health care policy full time might as well take the rest of the month off and let the demagogues bent on scarring the American people just get it all out. I swear it is getting worse by the hour. Then maybe we can get back to a rational debate.The British Health System's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel have been particularly

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why the Democrats Are On Their Way To Blowing Health Care –Again

There will be a pretty long list of answers to this question but I will give you what I consider to be the number one reason.The Democrats chose partisanship over bipartisanship.There has been a school of thought in this town, of which I have strongly agreed with on this blog, that the only way you can do something as big and complicated and close to people’s self interests as health care is to

Insurance Companies Say They Can't Compete With a Public Option--But FedEx and UPS Do Pretty Well Against the Post Office--What's the Difference?

The Post Office doesn’t get to unilaterally fix the cost of all of the things it buys that go into its services--Medicare and Medicaid do.What critics of the public health plan option often fear is that, like Medicare, a public option health plan would be able to unilaterally set what it pays doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and other providers. Private health insurers often pay providers 20%

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Health Care Reform Debate is Really Starting to Scare Me—What if We Were Having a Real One?

The recent stridency of this health care debate has led me to wonder what if the Democrats were proposing real health care reform?The Democratic health care bills are hardly more than expansions of the health insurance entitlement paid for by largely insignificant cuts to existing spending and lots of new taxes. Any provider cuts to Medicare are so small they will be easily cost shifted to the

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Bigger the Lie

I come from a corporate background.A longtime ago a chief marketing officer introduced me to the term, “The Big Lie.” Apparently, this also applies to politics.As he put it, in not a complementary way, the bigger the lie that is told the easier it is to believe.Sarah Palin has been practicing Big Lie politics.She recently posted on her Facebook account:“The America I know and love is not one in

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health Insurance Reform or Health Care Reform? The President Gets It Right!

Advocates of the health care bills now pending in Congress, led by the President, have been calling for health care reform. They argue that our health care system is unsustainable as it is. Not only do we need to create a system of universal coverage but also we need to do it in a way that is sustainable, affordable, and doesn’t continue to add to our deficits.They are right.But, for months I

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Public Plan Option: Litmus Tests Are Never a Good Sign

Before now, I can think of only one “litmus test” in American politics—abortion.That is an issue that simply polarizes the nation—and our political system. On a good day, people on one side or the other just agree to disagree and move on.But I think we are seeing another litmus test issue emerge—the public health plan option.I have no doubt that there are not the votes to pass a public plan

Never Give Up!

At the rate this crazy health care reform debate is going it could well come full circle and back to twelve Senators who still think they have a good idea--if everyone else would stop digging in on what they can't agree on.This from a Washington Post op-ed they co-authored this week:As 12 U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle who have widely varying philosophies, we offer a concrete

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Leave the Town Halls Alone!

Apparently, conservative activists are attempting to disrupt town hall meetings being held by Democratic members of Congress to discuss the health care bills.I can tell you from conversations I have had with members of Congress that these town hall meetings are VERY important to representatives and senators of both parties as a way to gauge the mood of their constituents. If activist groups

Finally, A Reasonable Plan for Certification of EHR Technologies

by DAVID C. KIBBE and BRIAN KLEPPERA caution to readers: This post is about methods for certifying Electronic Health Record (EHR) technologies used by physicians, medical practices, and hospitals who hope to qualify for federal incentive payments under the so-called HITECH portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It may not be as critical as the larger health care reform