Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report Feature Highlights Recent Blog Entries
"Blog Watch" offers readers a roundup of health policy-related blog posts.
The Congressional Budget Office is making waves: several bloggers are prognosticating about the agency's forthcoming estimate of the cost of health reform proposals.
The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn reports that he's hearing the cost estimate could be closer to $1 trillion than the previously discussed $1.5 trillion. However, Cohn notes that the figure does not include employer contributions and could still leave one-quarter to one-third of the uninsured without coverage.
Cato's Michael Cannon interprets last week's announcement that several industry groups pledged to slow the growth of health care spending as evidence that the real motivation was "to pressure the Congressional Budget Office to assume that Democrats' health care reforms would reduce spending, despite the lack of evidence." (his emphasis) Bob Laszewski also hinted at this with a post titled "An Open Letter to the Men and Women Over at the CBO" that ended: "The only thing standing between BS reform and real reform are the men and women -- real men and real women -- over at the CBO ... Hang in there!!!!" Cannon echoes the sentiment with fewer exclamation points: "The CBO (and everybody else) should resist the Democrats' effort to make truth yield to power."
Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen says he's reviewing "health care cost fallacies" and asks readers to "sign on to" this statement: "The fiscal outlook is grimmer than before, therefore we should spend less on health care reform than I used to think." Ezra Klein, from his new perch at the Washington Post, counters with his own: "The fiscal outlook is grimmer than before, therefore we should agree on more radical health reforms than were previously considered." Klein then links to a Center for Economic and Policy Research graph, which shows the projected deficit as a proportion of the gross domestic product for various industrialized nations. Unsurprisingly, the line for the United States is headed skyward, while those for Canada, France, Germany and England drop.
Meanwhile, disputes continue on a public plan option. Families USA President Ron Pollack reminds readers of his support: "As I said last week at the Senate Finance Committtee's roundtable. ... First, a public plan option would increase choice. Second, it creates a benchmark on cost that is likely to have a positive impact on lowering costs on private plans. Third, the public plan would be a source of obtaining important data about health care that is unlikely available through the private plans, and will enable certain improvements in America's health care system."
Yet Jeff Goldsmith on the Health Affairs Blog says that such a plan is "not worth the risks" and advises, "Health reformers would be smart to trade the radioactive 'public plan' bargaining chip for concessions from the industry and to focus their attention on finding an employment-friendly financing plan, and on Medicare payment reform."
The National Journal's Marilyn Werber Serafini solicits her experts' opinions: Are we any closer to consensus on a public health plan after Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) presented three options for the committee to consider as part of broader health care reform legislation this year? The responders -- Stuart Butler, Karen Davis, Marian Wright Edelman, Uwe Reinhardt and John Sheils -- don't come to a conclusion.
- The Chicago Tribune's Judith Graham has advice for readers whose bosses are providing little guidance for getting the COBRA subsidy;
- Sarah Rubenstein from the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog live-blogged Friday's CDC call with reporters on H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu;
- The Healthcare Economist gives five examples of "overuse in health care," including ear tubes, hysterectomies and pacemakers;
Insure Blog's Bob Vineyard disputes New York Gov. David Paterson's (D) proposal that would require state approval to raise health insurance premiums;
- Uwe Reinhardt on the New York Times' Economix looks at taxing employer-sponsored health benefits;
John Goodman has health policy strategy advice for conservatives and moderates;
- Christina Tchen, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, discusses a roundtable she and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had with female small-business owners and their difficulties providing health insurance for employees on WhiteHouse.gov.