Friday, September 11, 2009

Today's Column in News and Observer

is here. It discusses some of the developing consensus, or the parts that folks agree about.

Here is a post I wrote a few weeks back that discusses an Independent Medicare Advisory Commission idea and discusses the fact that the Patients' Choice Act, the most comprehensive Republican alternative (Co-sponsored by Sen. Coburn and Burr; and Reps. Ryan and Nunes) has the most detailed discussion of *any* bill describing the use of a similar commission, and the development of a Quality Improvement Board that would apply cost effectiveness research.

As I wrote at the time, I give our Senator (if you live in N.C.) Richard Burr alot of credit for co-sponsoring this, and especially this important idea. When the President began discussing an IMAC in late July, this was an important example of him looking at Republican ideas (Patients' Choice Act was proposed in May, 2009). So, even though all amendments offered by Republicans to the bills reported out of committees have been voted down so far, Republican ideas have been and are making their way into what is likely to turn into the President's final plan. In large part, because at least in the Senate, the Republicans aren't that different from the 7 or 8 most conservative Democrats.

Update: I wrote 1% covered by VA in the column, and I should have included other military insurance programs like TRICare since I was trying to add up all government insurance. All Military insurance programs combined cover 3.8% of Americans according to this testimony per blog. [see table 1, page 2 in the link] Overall, 29% of Americans were covered by some government insurer in 2008, up from about 25% in 2000. And it will continue to rise over time even if we do nothing because the baby boomers will begin moving into Medicare age-eligibility.

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