The Next 100 Days: Some Final Hurdles to Health Reform

September 3, 2009

For some on Capitol Hill and in the White House, we’re just around the corner from a Rose Garden signing ceremony for health reform. But for others, that day seems far away.

Both camps agree: Significant disagreements remain that must be worked out if health reform is to become law. Will there be a public plan option or, as an alternative, health insurance co-ops? How will reform be financed? Can the “cost curve” be bent, either during or after the 10-year window that’s the focus of Congressional Budget Office “scoring”? How might Medicare change – or facilitate change – in a reformed system? How will reform affect employers, especially small businesses?

This briefing, cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, looked at some of the important issues that must be settled if President Obama is to sign a meaningful health reform bill this year. Speakers were:

Gail Wilensky of Project HOPE, former chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and former administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services);

Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute; and

Ken Thorpe, chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University.

Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated, along with Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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