Health Reform: The Essentials

On the eve of the White House’s bipartisan health reform summit, the Healthcare Leadership Council has signed onto a full page ad, initiated by the Mayo Clinic, in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper.  The ad calls for health reforms “that provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”  Other signers include HLC members Aetna, Cleveland Clinic and Marshfield Clinic as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America’s Health Insurance Plans and high-profile health providers from across the country.

Specifically, those of us who signed the ad are emphasizing that there must be two core elements to any health reform measure that becomes law, specifically:

•    Create a cost-effective Medicare payment system by establishing incentives for doctors and hospitals to offer the highest quality care at the most reasonable cost.  This will reduce unnecessary procedures and ensure Medicare is viable for future generations.

•    Coordinate basic, private insurance offerings and provide sliding-scale subsidies to enable all Americans to purchase health insurance.

Many of us have argued for some time now that health reform is indeed achievable if Congress will agree to strip away the political and ideological excesses that lead inevitably to partisan gridlock, and focus on these vital elements – give people of modest means the ability to gain access to the system through private insurance, and then improve the system so that we’re paying for quality instead of simply volume of services.

We’ve signed onto the ad in Roll Call because we believe it’s not too late to get this done.