Posts Tagged ‘summit’
Instead of Beer, Transparency and Negotiation over Health Care Reform are the Focus of Obama’s Latest Summit
Today, President Obama and Congressional delegates from both sides of the aisle gathered in Washington to discuss the revival of health care reform during a televised health care summit. Without the beer Obama had provided during a previous summit, leaders sparred from time to time over the daunting task before them in reshaping the nation’s health care system. The summit began with an irritated Obama scolding U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) for bringing a copy of the 2,400-page bill with him, calling it a “political stunt that gets in the way of lawmakers having a serious discussion.” To his credit, Rep. Cantor had likely read the bill, highlighting certain sections he wished to discuss during the summit.
In any case, lawmakers in attendance exchanged stories, facts, and blame as they strategized over how to insure 47 million Americans without burdening future generations with trillions of dollars of debt, not to mention millions more Americans who are satisfied with their health care coverage. What seemed to be lost on most of the attendees (I won’t mention any names) is that in a nation of more than 300 million people, just 15 percent of the population is uninsured. Why not focus on a plan to get just this segment of the population insured as opposed to overhauling an entire system that encompasses nearly 20 percent of our nation’s GDP? Why not focus on a way to help small businesses insure more, if not all, of their employees (through incentives such as tax breaks and payroll tax holidays that will free up more revenue to spend on better benefits)? Better yet, why not hand health care reform over to the states in order to focus on other concerns such as the economy and foreign policy, particularly Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran?
Among the best proposals I’ve seen in confronting the obstacles embedded within health care reform is that which was made by Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation. He makes the case for state control over health care reform as opposed to federal control, particularly for the benefit of cost savings. It makes sense for the simple fact that what may work for Vermont (the healthiest state in the country for 2009 according to a United Health Foundation study) may not work for Mississippi (ranked as the unhealthiest state in the country in the same study). Giving states control over health care reform would enable them to better address the ailments most prevalent within each of their health care systems (chronic illnesses, insurance mazes, low reimbursement rates, etc.) as opposed to, say, forcing Vermont taxpayers to fund insurance coverage for Mississippians.