Today, President Obama hosted representatives of major health care industry groups, including the American Medical Association, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry, and the nation’s hospitals at the White House for a roundtable discussion and press conference. The event focused on a collective pledge by these groups to work toward decreasing the rate of growth in health care spending over the next ten years, a goal that President Obama has articulated as a key to the future health (both actual and economic) of the nation. The White House blog has a rundown, photos, and a list of the attendees.
While the participants were vague about the specific measures they’ll take in order to control costs, the event was as important for its political significance as for its actual substance. It was a strong signal by the industry representatives that, unlike during the Clinton reform effort in the early 90’s, they want to maintain a positive stance toward reform and would rather work with the Administration than against it. For now. Dicey questions remain over the inclusion of a public plan option, the role of individuals and employers, and how to pay for it all.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congress continued the drumbeat of reform, as the Senate Finance Committee released its second set of Policy Options, this one focused on the issue of how to expand coverage. Last week the Committee held a roundtable on the issue, and will hold another roundtable tomorrow on the issue of how to finance health reform. The Policy Options documents are understood to be a roadmap toward the eventual reform legislation that’s expected to start moving this fall.
Lastly, the mainstream media has begun turning its full attention to the coming debate over health reform. The Washington Post launched a portal for all of its health reform coverage, including a blog by widely respected health care reporter Ceci Connolly. Later this week, look for NACHC to do the same – we’ll be launching a one-stop-shop site on nachc.com for all the latest health reform developments and how they impact health centers.