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Why Bipartisanship Is Important

July 09, 2009
11:39 am

Time Karen Tumulty raises an interesting question in the magazine’s blog today.  With Al Franken’s election now giving Democrats 60 votes in the Senate, she writes, why are they “even bothering to keep negotiating with the minority party.  Why don’t they just pass healthcare reform on Democratic votes alone?”

Some of the outside groups engaged in the health reform debate, particularly those who are pressing for creation of a new government-run health insurance program, are urging Democrats to do just that.  The director of MoveOn.org is quoted in today’s Washington Post, saying “On healthcare and on energy…you have conservative Democrats saying we have to compromise.  That dynamic has just changed.  Really they don’t have to compromise.”

Nonetheless, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) continues to negotiate diligently with Republicans on his panel to develop centrist legislation.  And, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) met yesterday with four of the key GOP Senators involved in the health reform debate and assured them that he, too, wants a bipartisan bill. Read more

An Important Independence Day Message

July 03, 2009
1:50 pm

bfp_0128_umbdenstockAs we stand on the verge of debating actual health reform legislation instead of simply theoretical ideas, I thought it important to share this message from Rich Umdenstock, the president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, that just appeared in AHA News.  Rich makes an important point about the need for reform that addresses America’s healthcare challenges without undermining the system’s strengths.  Or, as he said, “if reform leaves our health infrastructure seriously weakened or destabilized, it is no one’s victory.”

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A Way to Find What Works in Health Care

July 03, 2009
8:16 am

When Congress, earlier this year, passed an economic stimulus bill that included $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness studies, many were concerned that this money included no provisions to include the considerable expertise on tests, treatments and technologies that exists in the private sector.  We also wanted to make sure this work on comparative effectiveness is used to make American medicine better, not to simply cut costs at patients’ expense.

Bill Weldon, the chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, if offering a valuable idea on how to put this $1.1 billion to best use.  Read more

Coming Up on ABC

July 02, 2009
8:05 pm

The media’s wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson unfortunately bumped an important network television report on healthcare, a piece that Americans need to see as we determine the future of our nation’s health system.

Fortunately, journalist John Stossel’s report on the Canadian healthcare system, which is often touted by proponents of a government-run health insurance option, will air on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, July 17.  Based on the preview of the story that Stossel has placed on ABC’s website, he will interview physicians and hospital administrators in Canada regarding the problems of physician shortages and long wait times for treatment that have resulted from having a government-controlled health system.   Read more