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How to Ensure America Takes Its Medicine

In response to a question posted on the National Journal’s Health Care Expert Blog, Ralph Neas, President and CEO of the NCHC Action Fund, discussed the need to hold Congress and stakeholders accountable for curtailing the growth rate of national health care expenditures.

Justifying System-Wide Cost Containment

On the National Journal’s expert health care blog, Marilyn Werber Serafini opened discussion on the recent report issued by Medicare actuary Richard Foster, which stated that health care spending over the next decade could increase by up to 1 percent, due to new insurance coverage for 34 million people. In response to Serafini’s question regarding the meaning of this report for the fate of health reform, Ralph Neas, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, commented that while this news is actually a pleasant revelation, considering the throngs of new insured individuals, the need for system-wide cost containment is clearer than ever. Click above to read his full response.

Failsafe Drafting Options with Additional Examples

In order to address two potential issues with the Cost Containment Failsafe Proposal, three alternative pathways may be proposed. These three options are to modify the cost containment mechanism, dial back the Congressional consideration requirements of the private sector cost containment recommendations, or rewrite the private sector cost containment to make policy recommendations, but with requirements that enhance their power and usage.

Building an Affordable and Sustainable Health Care System

To ensure that fair, effective cost containment is achieved across the entire health care system, legislation should be amended to: (1) set national goals for reducing health care expenditure growth; (2) accelerate system-wide cost containment initiatives that expand pilots and improve health care delivery across public and private sectors; and (3) conduct an independent analysis of health system expenditures and trends to measure progress and (4) implement targeted enforcement should targets not be met.

A Failsafe Mechanism for National Healthcare Expenditures

The following memorandum contains talking points which describe the steps that must be taken to ensure that health care reform reaches its goal of “bending the curve” of excessive health care inflation, specifically the design of a failsafe mechanism for national healthcare expenditures that will guarantee fair, effective cost containment.

An Insurance Policy for Health Care Reform

NCHC Action Fund President and CEO, Ralph G. Neas, calls for an insurance policy for health care reform. 

Noting that last spring, leaders of the health care industry, including representatives from PhARMA, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association, met with President Obama and pledged to him and the American people that they would decrease the annual rate of cost increases by 1.5 percentage points to save $2 trillion or more over the next decade. Neas said the commitment that industry leaders made to the President and the American public “should be more than a photo op, press statement and promise.” Citing Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus’ piece about legislative cost containment efforts and needing a fail-safe mechanism to ensure that the rate of health care inflation is slowed, Neas urged that industry pledges to the President and the American people to control the growth of national health expenditures be codified and made enforceable as part of health reform.

 “Only enactment of a “failsafe” amendment will provide the American people with an insurance policy that health care reform will lower premiums and make quality care and coverage affordable for all,” he said.

David Walker at Institute of Medicine – Rosenthal Speech

 David M. Walker’s (President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Former Comptroller General of the United States) Rosenthal speech

Containing Costs and Avoiding Tax Increases While Improving Quality: Affordable Coverage and High Value Care

The National Coalition on Health Care’s recommendations, based upon the consensus view of 85 member organizations, to make the system less complex, reduce overly high prices, and create a truly competitive health care marketplace. The goal of the paper is to augment the NCHC Principles and Specifications with a more detailed and selective set of policy recommendations on cost containment and quality improvement.

National Journal Blog – Health Insurers’ 11th-Hour Outburst

How much merit is there to 11th-hour insurance industry claims that the health reform bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week would raise insurance premiums? And how big a problem is it that the industry, which had generally been cooperative in the reform effort, is now lashing out? — Marilyn Werber Serafini, NationalJournal.com

National Journal Blog – CBO’s Latest Score: An $81B Deficit Reduction

The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation have issued a preliminary analysis of the Senate Finance Committee chairman’s mark for the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009. They note it would reduce the federal budget deficits by $81 billion over the 2010-2019 period. What’s your take?