A Good Reminder from Minnesota’s Governor

With all of the media coverage devoted to the controversial aspects of health reform, most notably the proposal to create a government-run health plan and the possible tax increases that may be used to pay for reform, insufficient attention is given to one of the most important objectives reformers must achieve – how to align healthcare dollars with exceptional healthcare quality.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty does a good job spotlighting this issue in an op-ed in today’s Washington Post.  He writes about how Washington, DC should look to the states as “models of market-driven, patient-centered and quality-focused reform.”  He points toward his own state’s employee healthcare plan which rewards workers for seeking value, lowering their out-of-pocket costs if they choose.

Pawlenty also makes a point that we’ve made repeatedly here at the Healthcare Leadership Council, that there are many health reform ideas that can generate broad, bipartisan support and we shouldn’t sacrifice those at the altar of controversy, non-essential ideas like the government plan option.  He writes:

“There are many common-sense elements that could form the basis for bipartisan healthcare reform, including:  medical malpractice reform, prohibiting coverage denials based on preexisting conditions, guaranteeing portability, electronic prescriptions and medical records, streamlining billing codes and practices, price and quality transparency, pay-for-performance measures, one-stop primary-care “medical homes,” chronic disease management initiatives, tax equity for health insurance purchases, increased incentives for health savings accounts, creating the ability to purchase insurance or form risk pools across state lines, and much more.”

I think the August congressional recess couldn’t come at a better time, to allow lawmakers to hear some of the good ideas outside of Washington, like those expressed so well by Governor Pawlenty.