A new proposal by The Commonwealth Fund suggests, as a major component of moving toward coverage for all, a Medicare-like program that uninsured adults below the age of 65 could purchase voluntarily. Reform proposals offered by Senators Clinton and Obama as part of their presidential campaigns feature similar options, as do some state reform plans.
Is Medicare a good model for expanding coverage? What features of the program are worth emulating? Which features ought to be avoided? Can we afford to build on Medicare given current concerns over the adequacy of financing for current and future obligations under Medicare? What impact, if any, would using Medicare as a foundation for coverage expansion have on health care costs in general?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund sponsored a June 6 briefing. Panelists were: Cathy Schoen, Commonwealth; Steve Lieberman of Lieberman Consulting, former senior official at the Congressional Budget Office; Representative Tom Price; Gail Wilensky, Project HOPE; and Cybele Bjorklund, Democratic staff director for theHouse Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Dr. Wilensky is a former administrator of the agency in charge of Medicare. Karen Davis of Commonwealth and Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)