Viewpoints: Sebelius, Harkin, Wyden, King, Altman, Butler Weigh In On Health Reform Law
Politico: Everyone Prospers Under Health Law
Early signs show that, after years of decline, the number of small businesses offering coverage to employees is increasing. Perhaps less widely recognized, but no less significant, has been the way the law is demanding transparency and accountability from the insurance industry to bring down premiums. ... after hearing from governors, providers and patients, the president recently announced his support for legislation that allows states to pursue innovative alternatives to the law, provided they can achieve the same results as the Affordable Care Act - including relief from skyrocketing costs. What we can't afford to do is take away these benefits, cancel these rights, and return to the days when insurance companies got between you and your doctor (Kathleen Sebelius, 3/14).
Politico: Focus On Health Policy, Not My Bill
While I share some of my colleagues' concerns about waivers being used to undermine the goals of the Affordable Care Act, empowering governors and local lawmakers to improve the law is likely to make reform more successful for all Americans. For all the time and energy spent lionizing or demonizing Wyden-Brown, few have recognized that the primary objective of this two-page legislation is to put that time and energy to better use. If all the brain power and the thousands of hours and millions of dollars being spent attacking, repealing or defending the Affordable Care Act were invested in finding ways to innovate and make it work better, all Americans would be healthier and more financially secure (Sen. Ron Wyden, 3/14).
Politico: The 'Obamacare' Gordian Knot
In 333 B.C., Alexander the Great faced the challenge of untying the enormous and complicated Gordian Knot. Many had tried and, though the reward was a kingdom, all had failed. Alexander drew his sword and slashed the knot in two. ... Obamacare is today's Gordian knot. The law was drafted to be incredibly difficult for lawmakers to unravel. When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), President Barack Obama, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) drafted Obamacare, they quietly included provisions that automatically spend $105.5 billion over the next 10 years to implement the law. ... During the continuing resolution debate on funding the federal government for FY 2011, I offered an amendment to cut off all automatic Obamacare funding (Rep. Steve King, 3/14).
Politico: Health Coverage Is Freedom
Conservatives attack the provision of the law requiring people to purchase health insurance. They claim it is an "assault on freedom." Well, it is an assault on freedom for people to go without insurance, seek treatment in emergency rooms and stick other Americans with their health care bills. ... When everyone is covered and no one is left out, we enhance liberty. Health reform is all about freedom. Freedom from the fear that if you get sick, you won't be able to afford a doctor. Freedom from the fear that a major illness will lead to financial ruin. These are the practical freedoms that matter to Americans (Sen. Tom Harkin, 3/14).
Health Affairs: Health Reform And Federalism: Stuart Butler's View
Back in 2004, Henry Aaron and I authored an article in Health Affairs arguing that granting states sweeping powers to experiment with health reform within federal guidelines would be the best way of achieving a bipartisan breakthrough at a time when health reform was at a virtual standstill. ... [But now], to achieve structural, innovative and continuous reform in a huge and complex field like health care, I believe the driving force must be bottom-up experimentation in both the private and public sectors. That leads me towards private markets and state initiative (Stuart Butler, 3/11).
Health Affairs: Health Reform And Federalism: Henry Aaron's View
The policy of replacing the ACA and shifting to a state-based strategy now may appeal to those for whom this approach was, and remains, the preferred outcome. It cannot appeal to those of us who regarded state-based reforms as a way-station on the road to full national health reform. Now that federal legislation is on the books, the task of its supporters is to defend it, make it work as well as possible, and seek technical corrections where needed (Henry Aaron, 3/11).
McClatchy / The Myrtle Beach Sun: S.C. Gov. Haley Offers No Solutions For Health Care Reform
Much was made of Gov. Nikki Haley's face-to-face meeting last year with President Obama about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What the governor hasn't done is told the residents of South Carolina what kind of health care reform she'd implement if the law is repealed, if [Sen. Lindsay] Graham's opt out makes its way through Congress, or if the state plans to use the 2017 opt out already in the current law. ... Haley has a lot to say about the evils of the health reform law. Why isn't she spending more time talking about her own?
(Isaac Bailey, 3/13).
Star Tribune: The Long And Winding Road To Reform
In "Beyond the Bottom Line: Ideas for the future of public investment in Minnesota," the six foundations suggest a few answers to that question. Among them: Charge ahead with health care payment reform, as proposed by two task forces in 2008. Pay providers to keep a population healthy, not for the number of procedures performed, and "better health outcomes" as well as up to $1 billion in public-sector savings each year could result, the report says (Lori Sturdevant, 3/12).
The Seattle Times: Savings Of The State Disability Lifeline Program Should Be Preserved
The Great Recession has hit our community hard, but for 6,000 people, it has been brutal. These people are on the Disability Lifeline program, which provides cash and medical assistance to disabled people unable to work who don't qualify for federal disability programs. They suffer from severe injuries, chronic medical and mental illness, and substance abuse; many are also homeless. Unfortunately, things may get even worse if the Disability Lifeline program is eliminated, which the governor proposed and the Legislature is currently debating (Daniel Lesser and Nick Metz, 3/11).
San Francisco Chronicle: Help Patients Live While They Are Dying
Palliative care teams have special training and emotional reserves that allow them to help patients and families navigate difficult situations, manage symptoms and focus on quality of life. ... This is not possible for most patients, and it's rarely affordable for those who want palliative care. To change this, health providers need to offer well-trained teams of care providers, and insurers must cover the approach in their policies. Large policy buyers (corporations and governments, including San Francisco) should demand that insurers bidding for their business include palliative care alongside curative therapies (Dr. Rachael Lucatorto, 3/14).