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Pulling it Together: The Media’s Challenge In Health Reform

For many years now the news media has served as the public’s number one source of information on important issues like health reform. People rely on the news media to help them wade through claims and counter claims, understand how policy options will affect them and come to judgment on…

Pulling it Together: Simple Arithmetic

This week we put out our annual benchmark survey of employer health coverage and costs. Two numbers jumped off the pages. The first number was the average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009: $13,375. To put that number in context, if you are an employer, you can…

Pulling it Together: This Could Be the Next Big Issue in Health Reform

No, this is not about “death panels.” The town hall meetings.  The media coverage of the town hall meetings.  Media polls about how the American people feel about the town hall meetings.  And even the media myth busting and fact checking about the most extreme claims made at the town…

Pulling it Together: Small $ for HIV Prevention

It’s no secret that the response to the HIV epidemic domestically has not kept pace with the response to the global epidemic. And in an earlier column called America Has Gone Quiet on HIV/AIDS I wrote about the growing complacency towards the domestic epidemic revealed in our recent survey of…

Pulling it Together: Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Way back in the eighties when I was Human Services Commissioner in New Jersey, I established something called the Garden State Health Plan (GSHP).  It was the first — and I think the only — federally qualified state-run HMO for Medicaid beneficiaries.  One goal of the GSHP was to reallocate…

Pulling it Together: Last Week’s Health Reform “Shocker”

Last week we learned that health reform could cost the federal government at least a trillion dollars over ten years, and that it will be really difficult to forge bipartisan agreement on legislation and keep major interest groups on board. This obviously brought more angst to the deliberations, several Republicans…

Pulling it Together: The Sleeper in Health Reform

The health reform legislation currently being crafted on Capitol Hill is undeniably complex.  To oversimplify slightly it can be boiled down into four parts: coverage (subsidies for private coverage and Medicaid expansions); delivery and payment reforms; insurance market reforms and regulations; and prevention, with each broad category containing a range…

Pulling it Together: On Health Reform, Will All Roads Meet in the Middle?

A few weeks ago a small group of upset single-payer advocates followed Senator Baucus into the parking garage of our D.C. building as he was arriving to do one of our health reform newsmaker breakfasts, cosponsored by Families USA and the National Federation of Independent Business. They were angry because…

Pulling it Together: The Experts vs. The Public on Health Reform

In repeated Kaiser polls, we see a divide between what experts believe and what the public believes about some of the key issues in health reform. They don’t disagree on everything; far from it. But there is a wide gulf on basic beliefs about what is behind the problems in…

Pulling it Together: The Health Care Industry’s Second Voluntary Effort

The announcement that health care industry groups plan to put on the table voluntarily a package of proposals to shave $2 trillion off the rate of increase in health spending over the next ten years immediately conjures up the image of the Voluntary Effort or VE launched with similar fanfare…