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Pulling It Together: Medicare, Medicaid, and The Multiplier Effect

We are witnessing a battle in Washington right now about the future of health care’s two big public programs, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a budget battle, it’s an ideological battle, it’s a partisan political battle, and while it might not always be obvious following the debate, it’s a high stakes…

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: New Orleans Five Years After the Levees Broke

President Obama’s visit to New Orleans on August 29, five years after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures nearly destroyed the city, presented an opportunity for him to deliver a message on behalf of us all: The country still cares. It was a timely message. Seven-in-ten residents of New Orleans…

Pulling It Together: Critical Path To Health Reform: Stage One

Will there be a big debate about health reform in the general election? If there is it will elevate the issue further, engage the public, and create momentum and a mandate for action by a new President and Congress. If, however, the debate about health is tepid or health is…

Pulling It Together: Critical Path To Health Reform: Stage Two

Will the new president make health a top early priority and exercise real leadership on the issue? One of the big lessons of the health reform debate of the early nineties is that the Congress needs to be fully engaged in the process early on. Nevertheless, for health reform legislation…

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…

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: 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…