HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ezekiel Emanuel: New Health Policy Advisor

Maggie Mahar at Health Beat notes the appointment of Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health and Rahm Emanuel's brother, as the senior counselor at the White House Office of Management and Budget for Health Policy.  She writes of Mr. Emanuel and the position,

Emanuel “Zeke Emanuel will work closely with Department of Health and Human Services secretary-nominee Tom Daschle to formulate a national health insurance program and to try to curb the swelling cost of health insurance without adversely impacting health care. . .

As regular readers may remember, I’ve written about the plan for universal coverage that Zeke Emanuel outlines in his book Healthcare,Guaranteed in two posts: The first post begins:

“Imagine a proposal for health care reform that guarantees free, high quality health care for all Americans. "No premiums. No deductibles. Under this plan, the government insists that all insurers offer the same comprehensive benefits to everyone including: office and home visits, hospitalization, preventive screening tests, prescription drugs, some dental care, inpatient and outpatient mental health care and physical and occupational therapy. . . .

“If this all sounds too good to be true, you need to read Health Care, Guaranteed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel..." Part 1 of the post is here and Part 2, here.

The plan, originally developed by Emanuel and health care economist Victor Fuchs, remains the best proposal for healthcare reform that I have seen. Granted, it lacks a public sector “Medicare for All” option which observers like Jacob Hacker believe is important. (See the paper that Hacker just released here)  But Emanuel has told me that he sees no reason a public sector insurance option couldn’t’ be included. He just doesn’t think it is necessary if private sector insurers are regulated as described in his book. . . .

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