In the Nation's Interest
CED Views on Congressional Health-Care Reform Efforts
Most of the pieces of sustainable, fundamental health-care reform are on the table in Washington. It remains for Congress to put those pieces together, and to take further leadership to make the final, difficult but necessary steps to deliver quality, affordable health care to all Americans.
Important ideas that would contribute to successful reform have been presented in Congressional bills and white papers. The Committee for Economic Development supports the following proposals as the key beginning steps toward health-care reform:
- Exchanges. We support regional health "exchanges" that would provide a level playing field for individuals to choose among competing health-insurance plans. This model is already available to all Members of Congress and Federal employees, and has achieved high levels of satisfaction among its consumers. Insurance exchanges foster competition, and offer choices so that people, not their employers, get the coverage they want.
- The Employer Exclusion. We support capping the employer exclusion. This has the dual benefit of raising revenues to fund reform and encouraging employees to choose coverage that is cost-effective.
- Information Technology. We believe that health information technology is a necessary, but not a sufficient, step toward a modernized health-care system. We support proposals in several bills for public investments in health IT systems. These investments must be made in the company of reforms that create strong incentives for all providers to use health IT to the full to modernize the practice of medicine.
- Risk Adjustment. CED recommends broadly implementing risk adjustment through the health "exchanges." Risk adjustment would compensate insurers who take on consumers with costly illnesses, reducing the incentive to "cherry pick" and increasing the reward to achieving excellence in the care of the sick.
- A "Federal Health Board." Several active proposals in the Congress would create an independent, unbiased federal regulator to set standards for health insurance, undertake scientific research, and collect and analyze health information to inform national best practices.