A Place at the Roundtable on Health Reform
As summer (and Congress’ August recess) approaches, events continue to emerge suggesting in this iteration of health care reform, all stakeholders want to make sure that they are included in the discussion, rather than refusing to negotiate as they did during the early nineties. So when the White House announced it’s receipt of a letter from the chairmen of Americas’ Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) proposing approximately $2 trillion savings over the next decade, I saw it as the latest maneuver to ensure a seat at the roundtable on health care reform. These six organizations pledge to adhere to evidence-based best practices and right-sizing the use of health system resources in accordance with several strategies already proposed by the administration. I was surprised to see SEIU join with the providers and payers of the health care industry. Yet, this is not the first union of seemingly unlikely organizations. Just last month PhRMA united with the consumer health group Families USA (an ideological adversary) to promote the expansion of Medicaid. With a newly planned lobbying and media campaign, the strategic partnership seeks new policy to cover more low-income families, provide income-adjusted subsidies for middle-class families and cap out-of-pocket expenditures for people with insurance. President of PhRMA, William Tauzin explained the strategy in this way, “We got a new team in town who could, I guess, pass what they wanted to…our job is to make sure that what they pass has as many elements of our principles in them as possible, and that means being at the table.” This, I believe explains it all.
Frates, C. Adversaries Team Up on Health Care: Families USA, PhRmA Focus on Medicaid. (2009, April 20). Politico, p. 4.
Krugman, P. (2009, May 10). Harry, Louise and Barack. The NewYork Times. Retrieved May 11, 2009 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/opinion/11krugman.html