Monday, December 1, 2008
Bob Laszewski and Richard Eskow, two health policy thinkers who I respect very much, have come to opposite conclusions on the Baucus plan. Eskow says that the plan shows the glimmers of an emergent consensus on health reform. Lazewski says that the plans is so vague on key elements like subsidy levels and the definition of "affordability" that is shows how little consensus there is. . . .
One of the Baucus plan's embedded assumptions is that Congress should not define too much. In this, it's taking a page from the successful passage of the Massachusetts reforms, which offloaded a series of thorny questions -- including the definition of "affordability" and the specific premium subsidies -- on the Connector Authority. And sure enough, Baucus's plan has a variant of the Connector Authority in the Independent Health Coverage Council (more on that here and here).
National Public Radio had a great overview of how the Massachusetts plan was working yesterday evening. The story focused mainly on the significant shortages of primary care physicians as individuals who previously could not afford to go to the doctor are now going for care and flooding the system with new patients.