Friday, May 16, 2008

"Blendon, Laszewski, And Rovner On Health Care Reform In The Election"

Earlier this week I was part of conference call organized by the new Health Affairs editor-in-chief, Susan Dentzer, on the topic of health reform in the presidential election.

The call, and subsequent posting of the transcript by Chris Fleming on the Health Affairs blog, was in connection with the thematic issue of health reform in the May/June Health Affairs.

First, congratulations to Susan on taking over at Health Affairs. They couldn't be in better hands and this issue concentrating on health reform proves it.

My colleagues made a number of really good points.

Bob Blendon, the guy with his "finger on the pulse of the American public" from his perch as director of the Harvard Program on Public Opinion and Health and Social Policy:
  • In the eyes of voters the health policy struggle between Clinton and Obama is not about the details but about who can follow through and get it done.
  • The health care issue is going to be "bigger than people think."
  • Comparing McCain to the Democrat over health care will be about "very big differences in values and beliefs."
  • McCain has framed this in a way that people can make choices--Employer or individual?--Do you want something done about the uninsured or not?
  • "The differences are so wide that it's going to be easier for people to be interested in the [health care] debate."
Julie Rovner, health policy correspondent from NPR:
  • Health care is not wavering as an election-year issue but it is more integrated in the overall concern about the economy--don't write if off as a major issue.
  • The idea that the Democrats can pay for their big health care plans by "simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire does not hold up."
  • The Wyden-Bennett bill is "the stealth bill." The recent CBO scoring that found it likely to be revenue-neutral very early in its proposed implementation was very significant and the bill bears watching.
There is lots more good stuff in their comments and you can read the whole conversation here: Blendon, Laszewski, And Rovner On Health Reform In The 2008 Election
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