Sign Up for Email Alerts Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Facebook Visit us on YouTube Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Home > Past Briefings > Briefing Detail Page

Briefing Detail Page

Change Text Size:   Smaller Text Size   Larger Text Size   Default Text Size    

Prospects for Health Care: Where Will New Congressional Leadership Take Us?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Come January, we can expect to see some new approaches to health legislation. Sen. Harry Reid, incoming Senate majority leader, says one of his top three priorities will be more funding for stem cell research. House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi wants a vote early on to roll back the prohibition against the federal government negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. And these are just two of the health issues likely to be debated in the new Congress. The White House too will have a definite voice in the debates to come.

What will the health related priorities of the congressional leadership and the White House be? Will the Medicare program change the way it pays providers and deals with pharmaceutical companies? Are there changes in store for SCHIP with reauthorization next year? What are the prospects for FDA reform? How will the Administration and the Congress react to the Medicaid commission’s recent recommendations? Will the federal government follow the lead of some states and address the problem of the uninsured?

To discuss these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a December 8 briefing. Panelists included: Julie Goon, White House domestic policy staff; Wendell Primus, Office of presumptive Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; Kate Leone, Office of incoming Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and Elizabeth Hall, Office of Senate Majority Leader, William H. Frist.


Julie Goon, White House domestic policy staff, Speaker
Wendell Primus, Office of presumptive Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker
Kate Leone, Office of incoming Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, Speaker
Elizabeth Hall, Office of Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist, Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Transcript: Prospects for Health Care: Where Will New Congressional Leadership Take Us? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 12/8/2006
Full Webcast/Podcast: Webcast: Prospects for Health Care:Where Will New Congressional Leadership Take Us?

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Source Materials

Statement of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (Word Document), Senator Rockefeller’s Office, 9/19/2006
Speaker Biographies: Prospects for Health Care (Word Document), , 12/8/2006

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

A Case Study of the Utah Primary Care network Waiver: insights into its development, design, & , Teh Boston Glob, 11/10/2006
Democratic leaders eye FDA reforms, The Executive, 11/16/2006
Pelosi – One the Issues – Healthcare, Pelosi Official Web sight, 11/1/2006
Sen. Kennedy Outlines Goals for Senate HELP Committee, Including Universal Coverage for All U.S, Kaiser Family Foundation (, 11/17/2006
Press Release: Grassley Introduces Bill to Help States Fund Health Care for Low-Income Children, United States Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Official Websight, 9/28/2006
SCHIP Financing Update: In 2007, 17 States Will Face Federal Funding Shortfalls of $890 Million (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/21/2006
AP Interview: Leader of Democrats in next Congress says ethics reform, minimum wage and stem ce, International Herald Tribune, 11/28/2006
Harry Reid- Issues: Health Care, Harry Reid Official Websight, 5/6/2006
Sen. Baucus to Tackle Health Care Costs,, 11/16/2006
Drug Industry Is on Defensive As Power Shifts, New York Times Online , 11/24/2006
Success of Drug Plan Challenges Democrats, Washington Post, 11/26/2006
US Election: Implications of Democratic control for healthcare, Goldman Sachs, 9/1/2006
Healthcare Industries Still Amongst Most Popular Targets for More Regulation but Support for Re, The Harris Poll People- Healthcare News, 11/14/2006
Health’s Ailment; A new Congress may patch up a few problems, but don’t expect a cure, U.S. News & World Report, 11/20/2006


Wendell Primus, office of presumptive Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi -- speaker at the December 8th briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Kate Leone, office of incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid --speaker at the December 8th briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Elizabeth Hall, office of Majority Leader William H. Frist -- speaker at the December 8th briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Julie Goon, White House domestic policy staff -- speaker at the December 8th briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Diane Rowland -- moderator at the December 8th briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


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.'"


Read More 

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

Read More 

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

Read More 

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

Read More 

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."


Read More 

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.

Read More 

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.

Read More 

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?

Read More 

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.

Read More 

Copyright 1997-2014 Alliance for Health Reform
1444 Eye Street, NW, Suite 910 Washington, DC 20005-6573      202-789-2300      202-789-2233 fax      Sitemap