KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Dems Get Boost From Another Republican Supporting Health Reform

Former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Thomas Scully is the latest Republican to throw his support behind health care reform.

Politics Daily: "'Health reform in general is way overdue and we ought to do it,' Scully told (Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence) in an interview. He supports the approach taken by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Montana Democrat Max Baucus. If the bill produced by that committee became law, Scully said, 'the world would be a better place.'"

Scully, chief of CMS under President George W. Bush, joins former senators Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Bill Frist as other Republicans who have also come out for health reform in principle. (See related Kaiser Health News report.)  Another former CMS chief, Mark McClellan, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined former HHS Secretaries Tommy Thompson and Louis Sullivan as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in their support for reform recently.

"Scully opposes the creation of a new government-run insurance plan to compete with private policies. In a perfect world, he'd like to see Congress first pass insurance reforms, such as a ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and phase in a requirement that almost all Americans buy insurance ... and he wishes the whole project were not happening at a time of such high deficits. All that said, Scully added, 'I am a fan of health reform. I think we ought to do it. And I think Senator Baucus's bill is a pretty reasonable package.'" (Lawrence, 10/9).

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