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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Path to National Health Reform 2009?

Path to National Health Reform 2009?

April 6, 2008

Possible Path to National Health Reform 2009

This slide is the summary of a short presentation detailing the steps that could (or could not) lead to national health reform in 2009. The presentation is by Drew Altman, President of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here's his explanation of the slides:

My aim here is to provide a simple visual aid -- called "The Critical Path to Health Reform" -- for thinking about how momentum can build or still be knocked off track as the country moves toward a potential debate about health reform legislation in the new Congress in 2009. The series of charts and accompanying text illustrate the three primary stages and "make or break" decision points that could mark the path to a major health reform initiative.

The presentation is part of major KFF effort to focus attention on the health issue in the upcoming election. The centerpiece is a comprehensive website, www.health08.org, that includes detailed news, analysis, video, podcasts, links, poll results and more on the candidates and health care.

In the slide above and the presentation notes, Altman says comprehensive national health reform will only happen if a number of factors come together. First, polls need to show that health care is a critical public voting issue, as happened in 1992, but not 2004 or 2006. Second, the new President will have to make it an early and top priority and exercise real leadership, despite political advice to go for something easier or smaller. And third, Congress needs to embrace a compromise that hugs the center, rather than satisfy ideological demands.

Do you agree? What's missing here? There's nothing about a citizen movement to push the President and Congress, and what is the right centrist policy going to be, anyway? Add your thoughts.
Brian Rosman