Debriefings…

California’s effort at comprehensive health care reform is *still* getting attention, as various experts from California and across the country are weighing in with their analyses, reports, and debriefs from the fight. (This is beyond the initial reactions in the first week, by Health Access and many others, such as editorial boards.)

It’s clear the eyes of the nation (or at least health reformers) were on California, and there’s a consensus that there are important lessons to learn from our experience: from the policy, from the politics, and the process, as the nation starts to deal with this issue as the federal level. While not endorsing the view of any commentator or author, here’s what has come out just recently:

* The New America Foundation has a full report, entitled “Lessons From California’s Health Reform Efforts for the National Debate” written by Peter Harbage, Leif Wellington Haase, and Len Nichols.

They also sponsored a forum in Washington, DC, last week, that included Harbage, Haase, and several other Sacramento regulars, including our colleague and board member Betsy Imholz of Consumers Union. A transcript and video of that event is available at the kaisernetwork.org “Healthcast” website.

* The blog of the high profile policy journal Health Affairs has been hosting a forum deconstructing the health debate, between many Californians with different vantage points in the fight. The positings include:
* “California Shelved Health Care Reform,” Rick Curtis and Ed Neuschler, Insitute for Health Policy Solutions
* “Opportunity Lost: The Failure of California’s Health Reform,” Patricia Lynch, Kaiser Permanente
* “The Mandate Wars, In California and Beyond,” Rick Kronick, UC-San Diego
* “California: Negotiating The Intersections of Reform,” Lucien Wulsin, Insure the Uninsured Project.
* “Shared Responsibility: The Better Course,” Curtis/Neuschler
* “Guaranteed Issue? Only With An Individual Mandate,” Lynch
* “Coverage And Cost Containment: Both Are Needed,” Wulsin

* The California Health Care Foundation has a few recent documents on their calhealthreform.org website that reviews the policy developed in AB x1 1. Elliot Wicks of Health Management Associates has a framework assessment from his view in Washington, DC, and Rick Curtis of the Institute for Health Policy Solutions has a summary of technical observations and design issues from being part of developing the proposal.

Mark Smith, the head of the foundation, provided some of his own analysis in his speech to insurers at AHIP in Washington, DC, recently.

There’s no less than four more analyses coming out in the next few weeks from various sources–including from ourselves at Health Access, since we have our own thoughts on the subject.

Some initial common themes of many of these pieces include: that the stalling of the bill was a real setback, that there was policy development and components that could serve as models for other states or national reform, that there was breakthrough in terms of the potential coalition that can be built around reform, that there are issues like affordability and cost containment that need to be addressed in future reform efforts, there are reminders about the many political hurdles any reform will face.

Even the distance of a month has been helpful about thinking through some of the issues. This conversation is not over–just like the fight for reform in the first place.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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