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Health Reform for New Health Reform Reporters


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

For reporters who normally cover topics other than health reform, today’s reform debates can mean playing catch-up. They may be facing a new vocabulary – public plan option, health insurance cooperative, employer mandate, individual mandate. Maybe they're trying to figure out what all this means for readers, viewers or listeners.

To help speed reporters along the learning curve, the Alliance for Health Reform sponsored a July 1 briefing. The webcast and resource materials compiled will be valuable for anyone wanting an overview of the health reform process in Washington to date, and where it's headed.

Featured were: Dean Rosen, a partner at the public affairs firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc. and head of the firm’s health practice, with Ed Howard, head of the Alliance for Health Reform and a veteran of health reform efforts going back to 1989.

Prior to joining Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Mr. Rosen held a series of high-level positions in both government and the private sector. He was the chief health care advisor to former Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist, M.D (R-TN), after serving as staff director for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Health. Previously, he was senior vice president of policy and general counsel for the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA). Mr. Rosen came to HIAA from the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. He also served as health policy coordinator and majority counsel to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.

Mr. Howard has headed up the Alliance for Health Reform since its formation in 1991. Earlier, he served as the general counsel for the U.S. Bipartisan Commission on Comprehensive Health Care, the “Pepper Commission,” which reported to Congress on ways to assure access to health care and long-term care for all Americans.

 

Speakers

Dean Rosen, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc. , Speaker
Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Health Reform for New Health Reform Reporters (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 7/1/2009
Full Webcast/Podcast: Health Reform for New Health Reform Reporters

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Dean Rosen Presentation (PowerPoint), 7/1/2009

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 7/1/2009
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 7/1/2009

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Health Care Reporting For Journalists (Adobe Acrobat PDF),New America Foundation, 6/1/2009
Health Care Reform: An Introduction (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Congressional Research Office, 4/14/2009
Health Care Reform and the Federal Budget (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Congressional Budget Office, 6/16/2009
Focus on Health Reform: Health Care Reform Proposals (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 6/1/2009
Big, Small or Nothing At All? Three Scenarios For Health Reform, Kaiser Health News, 6/1/2009
Options for Financing Health Reform: Comparing the Impact of Selected Policy Options (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Commonwealth Fund, 6/1/2009
Short Summary of the Patients' Choice Act (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Congressman Paul Ryan, 5/20/2009
Kennedy, HELP Committee Democrats Announce the Affordable Health Choices Act (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, 6/9/2009
Key Features of the Tri-Committee Health Reform Draft Proposal in the U.S. House of Reps. (Adobe Acrobat PDF),House Committee on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor, 6/9/2009
Baucus, Grassley Release Policy Options For Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Senate Finance Committee, 5/18/2009
President Obama's Fiscal 2010 Budget: Transforming and Modernizing America's Health Care System, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, 6/1/2009
Health Care Reform: Asked and Answered, The Briefing Room blog, the White House, 6/25/2009
Health Policy Brief: A Public Health Insurance Plan (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Health Affairs, 6/19/2009
High and rising health care costs: Demystifying U.S. health care spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 10/1/2008
Chapter One: Health Reform, from Covering Health Issues, Alliance for Health Reform, 6/22/2009
Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Public Opinion on Health Care Issues (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 6/1/2009
Lessons Learned: The Health Reform Debate of 1993-1994 (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Alliance for Health Reform, 10/1/2008

Photos

Dean Rosen, head of the health practice at the public affairs firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc., gave reporters a review of what's happened with health reform legislation over the past nine months and offered predictions about what's ahead. From the July 1 briefing.

Ed Howard, executive vice president of the Alliance for Health Reform, helped reporters get up to speed on health reform legislation at a July 1 briefing at the Alliance. Also on the panel: Dean Rosen, head of the health practice at the public affairs firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc.

 


Uwe Reinhardt Questions Bundled Payment Savings Prospects


Video (2:58)

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Princeton’s Uwe Reinhardt questioning whether bundling payments for medical services might actually lead to higher – not lower – costs.

"The ACO's, the accountable care organizations, could create local monopolies that could dictate to you what that bundled price would be, and some of us fear that bundled prices might be even more than what the fee-for-service for that bundle would be today. … You really should align all the payers and say, 'Let us jointly negotiate with the ACOs what those bundles should be so that they cannot divide and rule and sort of make us on the buy side weak.'"

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Sister Carol Keehan on Health Law Enrollment Challenges this Year


Video 3:00

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Sister Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association of the United States addressing the challenges of quickly enrolling millions of Americans for health insurance this fall. Open season begins October 1 of this year, yet she says that up to 85 percent of those who will be newly eligible for Medicaid or for subsidies to buy private insurance in state-based exchanges don't know it.  FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Jonathan Blum on CMS Efforts to Keep Medicare Spending Growth Down


Video (2:54)

Jonathan Blum, acting principal deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), addresses the slower growth of Medicare spending over the last few years, and what his agency is doing to try and continue the trend. “There are promising signs that this strategy to change the payment system, to change the payment models, to focus on waste and abuse, is paying off," he said. "We are taking a whole new approach to addressing fraud in the program. Much more data resources, much more on the ground reaction. We have seen dramatic spending declines in areas of spending, such as home health and durable medical supplies that historically fueled lots of the fraud.”  FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Two Former Medicare Administrators Discuss How to Save the Program


A new Alliance for Health Reform video features two former Medicare administrators -- Gail Wilensky and Bruce Vladeck -- on their ideas about how to save the program.

Ms. Wilensky, who ran Medicare in a Republican administration, argued for increasing the eligibility age of Medicare for future retirees, while still making the program available at age 65 for those who are disabled.

Watch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQjsfam9-w0

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Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Health Care Spending Lull Only Temporary


Video (3:11)

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, arguing that recent slower spending growth in health care won’t continue.

"We also saw a slowdown in the mid-90s, and we all declared victory and it came right back. I think next year we’ll see a noticeable uptick. There will be lots of new people entering the insurance markets because of the exchanges and the subsidies that come along with them, and those subsidies are very generous. … These are an invitation for people to get coverage and to buy more health care. I think that’ll place a lot of pressure on spending."

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Marketplace Enrollment Helpers Toolkit


Beginning October 1, insurance marketplaces open for enrollment, and millions of people will be eligible to purchase plans. To guide them in the application process, the federal government has invested in programs to train community organizations and hired staff.

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The Employer Mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act


The Toolkit, available here, details the ACA’s employer requirements and penalty. It also includes information about the delay in the mandate to 2015, and analysis about its impact on employer-based coverage.

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Toolkit: Training the Workforce for a Changing Health System


A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit addresses concerns about whether newly-trained physicians are adequately prepared for today's evolving health care delivery system. Does training adequately emphasize care coordination, team-based care, costs of care, health information technology, cultural competence and quality improvement? Does it encourage students to practice in a primary care setting?

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Toolkit: Emergency Preparedness in the U.S.: The Ebola Threat


Is the U.S. prepared for a potential virulent pandemic? This new Alliance toolkit examines public health infrastructure, funding and policy levers that deal with these kinds of health crises in America.

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