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Health Reform Odds and Ends

November 19, 2009
3:14 pm

Health Reform Odds, Ends and Random Thoughts

•      I wouldn’t have thought it possible to draft a health reform bill larger than the House’s 1,990 pages, but the Senate weighed in at 2,074.

•      Before lawmakers proceed much farther on health reform legislation, they should make it a point to read the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Harvard Medical School dean Jeffrey S. Flier.  Flier writes, “Those of us for whom the central issue is health – not politics – have been left in the lurch…speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality.  But that’s not true.”

Dr. Flier points out in his Journal piece that current health reform legislation does nothing to address “a regulatory morass (that) limits innovation” or “deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid (that) drive spending without optimizing care.”

•      The Senate bill unveiled yesterday mandates that all Americans must have health insurance, but the fine for noncompliance in the first year is $95.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that millions of healthy, uninsured Americans will opt to pay that penalty rather than take on the responsibility of monthly insurance premiums.  Congress wants the popular applause that comes with doing away with health pre-conditions as a barrier to acquiring coverage, but they’re more reluctant to take the necessary second step and get everyone into the insurance pool.  The consequence will be higher costs for all.

•      There were reports in the media Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had told his moderate Democratic colleagues that he would use the budget reconciliation process – which would require a majority vote, rather than 60 Senators – to push a bill through if they joined Republicans in obstructing passage.  Today, Reid said he definitely would not use reconciliation.  That’s a wise decision.  The nation is already sharply divided over health reform legislation, and bypassing normal Senate procedures would only inflame an already incendiary environment.

•      Speaking of those 2,074 pages in the Senate bill, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) says he will insist the bill be read aloud on the Senate floor before work on the legislation can begin.  Experts say it will take 34 hours to read the bill.  My guess is C-Span ratings may hit an all-time low during this period.

•      At a time when Congress is considering what some consider radical changes to the health coverage structure in this country, the Gallup Poll finds a record number of Americans giving high marks to healthcare coverage in the U.S. as it currently stands.

One Response to “Health Reform Odds and Ends”

  1. Sam Says:

    Fantastic. care to share your sources :) ?

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