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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…

Pulling it Together: About Kaiser Health News

There is lots of apocalyptic talk these days about the collapse of the newspaper industry and the challenges facing news organizations.  There is even talk of the unimaginable, my hometown paper The Boston Globe shutting down. Surely they know that Red Sox Nation cannot exist without the Globe Sports pages.…

Pulling it Together: 19.7

Several years ago Joanne Silberner from NPR offered some advice I liked. Joanne said that the secret to effective communication was to “have a killer anecdote and a killer number.” Here is a killer number: 19.7. That’s the average number of years between major attempts at health reform since Harry…

Pulling It Together: Jobs, A Reason to Fast Track Coverage

The two big topics in Washington right now are the economy and health care.  I’ve written before about how the two are linked, and in particular about how among the everyday economic problems people are having, paying for health care is a big one. But the latest numbers out from…

Pulling it Together: What Will Health Reform Do For Me?

There is one poll number that may be more important to watch than any other if we have a big debate about health reform: The percentage of Americans who think that they or their families would be better off if the president and the Congress enacted major health reform legislation.…

Window of Opportunity?

Beginning this Spring, between expected approval of an economic stimulus package and the start of campaigning for the midterm election, there will be a rare window of opportunity for passage of major health reform legislation. History suggests that momentum can be lost if policymakers do not move quickly to seize…

Pulling It Together: The “R” Word Is Back

Longer ago than I care to admit, I got my start in health policy at M.I.T. when I wrote a book about health care regulation. The book was about a long forgotten attempt to rationalize the health care system through an elaborate health planning program set up in the seventies under the National…