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Erie Family Health Center


Health Care Summit: Part 2

February 25, 2010 | marketing

The health care summit has started up again after a short break. Erie took a little bit of a longer break but now we are back in the mix!

1:14 – After the break the group came back and is still discussing health insurance regulation.

1:18 – We are back to talking about pre-existing conditions. President Obama is discussing why he disagrees with setting up high risk pools for those who have more pre-existing conditions (‘older, sicker people’).

1:26 – Senator Jay Rockefeller (D) does not really care for health insurance companies: ‘they are in it for the money.’ Then he referred to them as sharks. He feels this way because of lack of oversight, anti-trust rules, etc. Senator Rockefeller believes that they need more restrictions in order to make them more accountable (or ‘clip their wings’ as Senator Rockefeller said).

1:34 – Rep. Marsha Blackburn is arguing for a greater emphasis on the states, rather than a large federal pool. She would like to see the possibility of purchasing insurance across state lines in order to save costs.

1:43 – Vice President Biden just compared this debate to the debate that occurred in the 30’s about social security: despite differences, you must have everyone in the insurance pool in order to give everyone insurance. Interesting point.

1:47 – So a lot of the members of Congress are passing notes. This must be what it looks like to be a high school teacher.

1:55 – Rep. Paul Ryan says that the Senate bill will increase the deficit. He claims when you rescore the bill the first 10-years of this bill will see a $460 billion deficit.

2:06 – Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) calls out Rep. Ryan’s assessment that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did not calculate the bill’s deficit impact correctly. Rep. Becerra points out that the CBO is the referee in this situation and they say that this plan will reduce the deficit.

2:14 – Senator Chuck Grassley just stated that the mandate that everyone needs to have health insurance is unconstitutional.

2:24 – Senator Kent Conrad (D) is discussing one way to save money: better care management for those living with chronic conditions. He mentions the use of care coordinators to ensure that individuals are receiving better care. Erie utilizes care coordinators, such as our behavioral health care coordinator at Erie Helping Hands!

2:35 – Senator John McCain (R) is discussing medical malpractice reform as a way to save money and recruit physicians. And now he is back to reconciliation, which Senator McCain is strongly against the Democrats using.

2:46 – Senator Dick Durbin (D) argues that medical malpractice will not actually save as much money as Republicans are claiming and he cites CBO as the source of that point. He also feels that some of the proposed medical malpractice regulations, such as a cap of $250,000 of payouts, is unfair when actual malpractice has occurred and the lives of patients have been forever changed.

2:53 – The discussion is moving on to coverage. The summit was meant to end at 3:00 but it has been extended to 3:30.

3:02 – President Obama seems a little annoyed with Senator Jon Barrasso (R) for stating that the best types of patient consumers are those who only have catastrophic insurance coverage only. He asks the Senator if he feels that Congress should switch to catastrophic insurance coverage.

3:20 – Senator Dodd is throwing out some great stats on the impact of being uninsured, for example, that 6-8 people lost their lives today because they were uninsured.

3:36 – Senator Mitch McConnell (R) seems to have made a small closing speech in which he urges the President to consider scrapping all that has been done and to start over on health care reform.

3:52 – The final speaker, Senator John Dingell (D), is giving some remarks before closing statements are given.

3:55 – Speaker Pelosi has begun her closing remarks. She said she believes that the insurance companies have acted shamefully and that she wants to act on behalf of the American people.

4:00 – President Obama is going through the list of things everyone agrees on:

  • Insurance market reforms – while they do not agree on all of them they do agree on some of them. All in all, everyone agrees that some regulation should occur.
  • Allowing small businesses and individuals who have to buy expensive insurance or who have no insurance at all to be part of a large group or an ‘exchange.’ The idea is: more purchasing power the better deal that you will receive.
  • Allowing individuals to Purchase insurance across state lines. While the overall idea is agreed upon, the Democrats and Republicans do differ on specifics. For Obama, have unrestricted purchasing power across state lines will cause a ‘race to the bottom.’
  • Reducing the cost of care.

4:10 – President Obama says that he has put forward some sound ideas that seem to appease both sides to some degree.

4:18 – President Obama let’s the group know that starting over is not really an option. To him and others, ‘starting over’ can be translated as doing nothing or only adopting Republican plans.

4:20 – President Obama encourages Republicans to do some soul searching and try to find a few more things that everyone can agree on in order to close the gap and push forward a plan. He also pushes through the idea that we can’t wait, the American people can’t wait for these changes to occur.

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