May 11, 2009
Senate Finance Committee Releases Second Set of Policy Options for Improving Delivery and Expanding Health Care Coverage
Today, the Senate Finance Committee released its second health system reform policy paper. The paper, titled “Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans,” includes discussions of policy options to reform the insurance marketplace, improve the affordability of coverage, and reform public health care programs.
The Senate Finance Committee, one of two Senate committees with jurisdiction over health care reform efforts, is holding a series of roundtables to discuss options for health system reform. Following each roundtable, the Committee releases a “Description of Policy Options” offering potential policies for inclusion in a health system reform package. The first document was released on April 29th. This newest document follows a roundtable discussion on May 5, 2009. Members of the Committee have affirmed that the proposals contained in the document are simply options for discussion and that no final decisions have been made regarding moving forward on any of the issues.
“As a leader in medicine, ASA supports Congressional efforts to expand access to and improve the affordability of health care for all Americans. We commend the Committee for its work on this massive undertaking,” said Roger A. Moore, M.D., ASA president. “We are carefully reviewing this recently released document for information about how the Committee options would impact our specialty.
“At this point in time, I am particularly concerned about the section of the proposal that offers options for a ‘Public Health Insurance Option.’ Consistent with our longstanding view on this issue, if—and I stress if—Congress decides to move forward with a public plan, it cannot, it must not be based upon Medicare’s flawed payment structure, a structure that has underfunded anesthesia services for decades. I, along with ASA’s Washington, DC team and our key contacts and grassroots advocates will continue our lobbying of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on this issue and others impacting our specialty.”“Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans”