How Wide Has the Window Opened for Health Reform?

Now that we know the next occupants of the White House and the composition of the next Congress, many Americans expect to see an effort to enact significant reform of America’s health system. Congress isn’t waiting for the White House green light. Sens. Ron Wyden and Bob Bennett, as well as Sen. Max Baucus have already released health reform plans. Sen. Edward Kennedy is poised to do so.

What are the prospects for expanding health coverage to the uninsured, given the recession? Will we see workable approaches to constraining health care costs and improving quality? Could the tax treatment of employer-sponsored health benefits change? Who will be the key players in health reform – in the Senate, the House and the Obama Administration? Can we avoid the hurdles encountered during previous efforts at significant health reform?

To address these and related questions, and help reporters prepare for the upcoming debate on national health reform, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a December 11 briefing. Our speakers included some of the key congressional staff members who will be writing reform legislation. They were joined by keen observers of national health policy whose opinions count on Capitol Hill and across the nation.

Transcript

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