A Healthy Blog

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

See Who Likes the New MA Health Reform Law...

See Who Likes the New MA Health Reform Law...

April 19, 2006

Read between the lines and see a notable point of agreement between Shalala and Thompson (from today's Kaiser Daily Briefing):

Former HHS Secretaries Donna Shalala and Tommy Thompson on Monday discussed the future of U.S. health care at a conference sponsored by American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Shalala, HHS secretary for 8 years under Pres. Bill Clinton, said she favors expansion of health insurance for all workers through a model similar to that recently adopted in Massachusetts. She said there are a number of ways to increase coverage, including the use of employer or individual mandates or state-run insurance pools. She added that such expansions should occur only if government resources for health coverage are not taken from programs for low-income and disabled residents.

Thompson, HHS secretary under Pres. Bush until 2005, praised the Medicare drug benefit and said he expects more individuals to enroll before the May 15 deadline. Thompson said he supports the Massachusetts law and predicted other states will enact similar laws to address the large number of uninsured U.S. residents. He called for implementation of electronic health records and e-prescribing systems and said the U.S. health system should begin focusing more on preventive care instead of treatment of illnesses. Thompson said he is "absolutely" considering a run for president in 2008, noting that health care will be the leading issue in the election. According to CQ HealthBeat, Shalala was skeptical that health care "would decide the 2008 presidential election".

Folks on the left and folks on the right kick the heck out of the new Massachusetts law. And folks drawn to the political center of gravity kinda like it. Formula for success or formula for failure? Beats me, but it sure is interesting...