It would seem that the United States Congress is getting themselves mobilized to make an impact on health care. How much of these efforts end up being substantive and how many ephemeral is a question answerable only by the passage of time.
Ben Bernanke's recent statements about health care taking up a quarter of the federal budget were only one facet of the mobilization beginning on several fronts within those hallowed halls.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) are sponsoring the first bipartisan proposal for universal coverage to come out of the Senate. The proposal would scrap employer-based health insurance replacing it with a state-run system where insurance companies are mandated to offer basic coverage to all applicants and compelling those not covered by employer-based plans to buy in.
Tom Daschle has just released a new book in which he argues in favor of a Federal Health Board similar in structure to the Federal Reserve. This probably will be one of the thrusts of the legislation he is currently working on along with fellow Democrat George Mitchell and Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker. The four former Senate Majority Leaders plan to introduce their legislation in November. (For an in-depth interview about the book and Sen. Daschle's stance on health care take a look at the interview that he did with Ezra Klein for the American Prospect.)
Via The Washington Post:
"We have a broad consensus that we aren't getting nearly as much as we should for the money," said Mark B. McClellan, President Bush's former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who now heads the new Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings. "There's an unprecedented level of agreement that something can be done and that something must be done."Let us keep our fingers crossed and our eyes open.
SOURCE: "Writing New Prescriptions For Change" 06/17/08
photo courtesy of yanivba, used under its Creative Commmons license