Newspapers Examine People Involved in Health Care Overhaul
Two newspapers recently highlighted news about people involved in health care reform. Summaries appear below.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): Grassley on Thursday said that he is against the creation of a national board as an element of health care reform legislation -- a key feature of some congressional Democrats' proposals, the Des Moines Register reports. Speaking at a national health care forum at North Iowa Area Community College, Grassley said that such a body could have too much power and would increase the likelihood of government bureaucrats coming between patients and their physicians. He added, "It tends to centralize health care decisions, but more importantly it tends to direct health care dollars" (Beaumont, Des Moines Register, 4/10).
- Ezekiel Emanuel: The Los Angeles Times on Friday examined the role of Emanuel -- a physician, founder of the bioethics division at NIH and a special adviser to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag -- in developing health care reform legislation. As the top physician in the group of OMB advisers, Emanuel "knows how policy proposals can affect providers on the front lines of medicine," the Times reports. However, the "changes he has championed -- to give all Americans insurance vouchers and get rid of the employer-based health care system -- bear little resemblance to those embraced by the president," according to the Times. Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said, "We'll be working cooperatively as much as possible, but I expect that [Emanuel] will be a point of contact for physicians and researchers" (Graham/Levey, Los Angeles Times, 4/10).
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) for "the past couple of years ... have been trying to do what nobody else in Washington has achieved: redesign America's health coverage in a way that both liberals and conservatives can accept," Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib writes. According to Seib, Wyden and Bennett's plan would require every U.S. resident to have insurance; provide government assistance to help families purchase a policy; offer plans through private insurers; and have individuals primarily purchase their own insurance, rather than an employer. "Best of all, the Wyden-Bennett plan is designed to pay for itself in just a couple of years," he adds. Seib notes, "There's no silver-bullet solution to America's health problems, and this isn't one either," but, "it does show there are, in fact, ways to build bridges between differing views" (Seib, Wall Street Journal, 4/10).