While we’ve been talking about health reform for months (and in California, years), it seems that the debate went into high gear this week. While the White House meeting with the health industry got most of the headlines, the more specific, sticky, and significant debate was at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Max Baucus.
Yesterday, the Committee released a 60+ page paper, Policy Options for Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans. It provides the framework and lays out some of the options for health reform: expansion of public health programs, individual market reform and a health insurance “exchange,” required individual and employer contributions to health coverage, a public health insurance option, and much more.
Today, the Committee held a Roundtable Discussion on “Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform,” which explored the very tough issue of how do you raise the requisite funds to make the investments to expand coverage, which can then yield savings in the long run. The links has the written testimony of many of the witnesses. Several have pointed to the testimony of Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities of particular interest, especially as he says that it will take not one or a few but many options to pay for reform.
We could–and will!–do 100+ blog posts on the ideas and issues presented on the coverage and financing aspects of reform–in fact, we have, when Sacramento has debated these issues in years past. But it’s a sign that we are finally getting serious.