When it comes to federal health care reform, state and city health leaders have no idea what’s coming down the pipeline.
That’s what I’ve learned during meetings and presentations during the past couple of weeks. Among them:
• Lawrence Memorial Hospital CEO and President Gene Meyer
• Kansas Insurance Commission Sandy Praeger
• Senate Majority leader Derek Schmidt
• Kansas Health Policy Authority Executive Director Andy Allison
• Kansas Health Consumer Coalition Executive Director Corrie Edwards
• Health Care Access Executive Director Nikki King
• Kansas Health Officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips
• House Minority Leader Paul Davis
What these leaders DO know is CHANGE is coming.
Some of them provided reports about the health bills being debated in Washington, D.C., that might be helpful:
• The Kaiser Family Foundation offers a side-by-side comparison of the proposals: www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm.
• Praeger shared a five-page letter from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that was sent to key policymakers in Washington, D.C.: http://www.naic.org/documents/testimony_100106_health_reform_letter_officers.pdf.
• Meyer provided the American Hospital Association’s take on reform.
• Allison also presented the Kansas Health Policy Authority’s stance on reform and how it might affect Kansas.
One thing is for sure: America’s system is broken.
Last week, Praeger asked a group of health reporters to think about this: How many people in their 40s and 50s are STUCK in their jobs because of health coverage.
For example, she said, a husband might want to start a new company or take a new job, but can’t afford health coverage elsewhere because his wife had breast cancer.
Under the current health system, Praeger said it would be impossible because of the pre-existing condition.