Rising unemployment, persistent double-digit increases in health premiums and record state budget deficits are only the latest in a wide array of barriers that are keeping tens of millions of Americans from getting health insurance coverage.
Interest in incremental public and private steps to reduce the number of uninsured continues to be high. Beyond that, a number of prominent analysts have been developing possible paths to making wholesale changes in the current system. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), through its A Covering America project, tapped the country’s top thinkers across the political spectrum to find both visionary and practical ways to cover the uninsured.
Three promising approaches emerging from the “Covering America” project were described and discussed at a May 19, 2003 briefing sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and ESRI. Panelists were: Elliot Wicks of ESRI, Len Nichols of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and Tom Miller of the Cato Institute. Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University and Robert Helms of the American Enterprise Institute commented on the proposals. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated the discussion.