Health Reform Do’s and Don’ts: Veterans of the Early 90s’ Health Reform Debate Offer Advice to Today’s Reformers

Many of today’s reporters are too young to remember the last time Congress vigorously debated health coverage for all – 1993 and 94. For other reporters, that period feels “like yesterday.”

Whichever camp a person is in, that debate produced a wealth of knowledge on what should be done differently the next time Congress takes up national health reform, a time that could be coming soon after the next election.

To offer guidance to today’s reformers and reporters covering today’s reform efforts, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a December 12 briefing for reporters featuring veterans of the 1990s debate. The Alliance will present a program on the same topic Jan. 18 on Capitol Hill, also cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

What went wrong in 1994? What should be done differently the next time around? Panelists answered these questions with many practical suggestions.

Panelists were: Christine Ferguson, associate research professor of health policy at George Washington University’s Health Policy Center and former health aide to Sen. John Chafee (R – R.I.); Karen Pollitz, research professor and project director at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute and former deputy assistant secretary for health legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dean Rosen, partner and health care practice head at the law firm of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, former senior vice president of policy and general counsel for the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and later, health policy director for Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist (R-Tenn.); David Nexon, senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (“AdvaMed”) and former chief health aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.); David Colby, vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former deputy director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Physician Payment Review Commission. Moderating was Susan Dentzer, health correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Transcript

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