We all have war stories about negotiating the health care (non) system. Today's installment is courtesy of Jeff Krasner, health care reporter for the Boston Globe. Jeff, like the readers of this blog (I would hazard to guess), is better-equipped than most to deal with the medical-industrial complex. If the cognoscenti have this much trouble, imagine how poorly things are going for others out there.
So what's the solution? President Obama has kicked things off with his White House Health Care Summit last week, and now he's taking the show on the road. The summit was a masterfully-executed exercise in transparency (live-streaming opening and closing sessions, as well as five simultaneous breakout sessions) and the closing session had a great vibe. Some of the video is archived by C-SPAN, and here is the twitterstream from part of the summit. My own twitter conclusion: "Good vibe in the rm, excitement, not much new substance, POTUS elegantly dumps responsibility for HC reform in Cong's lap."
Interest groups (now known as stakeholders) that worked to ensure that Congress didn't even have legislation to send to Bill Clinton for signature are now somberly thanking Obama for a seat at the table. Obama has wisely taken himself out of the fray and has committed to offering input from the sidelines, just enough to ensure that the bill to be crafted by Congress works within the administration's framework. Since Baucus and Kennedy (to name but two) already have plans in the works, it is not too much to expect that Congress will engage on this issue. It remains to be seen whether the engagement will be productive enough to yield signature-ready legislation by year-end. In addition, we are all waiting for the administration's elucidation of the HITECH Act necessary to move forward with its full implementation.
With any luck, in the not-too-distant future, we can all look back at Jeff Krasner's column and laugh.