Insurers, Business Lobbyists Join Health Care Reform Negotiations
Health insurance and business lobbying groups are "talking seriously about changes that would ideally help cover the nation's 47 million uninsured, improve the quality of care and tame the growth of health care spending," the Boston Globe reports.
Members of the industries -- as well as health care providers, labor unions and other groups -- are "trying to reach consensus" on what an overhaul should include and have sponsored television campaigns "pressing for reform, in cooperation with such unlikely partners as AARP" and the Service Employees International Union, according to the Globe.
America's Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni said industries "can sit and wait for others to develop proposals or take the bull by the horns and look at what are the issues that are troubling the country. ... It's not an altruistic strategy, it's a realistic leadership strategy."
The Globe reports that the "mood" among the two industries "contrasts markedly with the one that prevailed in 1993 and 1994, when the insurance industry sponsored devastatingly effective ads" targeting a national health plan proposed by the Clinton administration.
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said, "If the 'strange bedfellows' participants reach agreement and find common ground, this clearly would be a game-changer."
John Rother, AARP director of legislation and public policy, said, "What's striking this time is the extent to which they're engaging in a constructive way, at least so far, and I think that's very promising."
However, the Globe reports, "Significant differences over policy remain unresolved, and even the most optimistic proponents of reform think passing major legislation next year would be difficult."Topics of contention include how to control the rising cost of health care and how the market should be regulated, among other issues (Wangsness, Boston Globe, 12/3). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.