Health care is a top priority for President-elect Obama, and he wants your help in reforming the system to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans. That's why this holiday season, we're asking you to give us the gift of your ideas and input.
Sign up to host a Health Care Community Discussion anytime from December 15th to 31st.
We'll provide all our hosts with special moderator kits that will give you everything you need to get the discussion going. And Senator Tom Daschle, the leader of the Transition's Health Policy Team, will even choose one discussion to attend in person.
I have been exploring the Obama/Biden post-election site, change.gov and found this (rather late for me) invitation to host a home discussion group on health care reform. There is also a form in which you can provide your health care story or key issues.
First, I hope this invitation gets wide distribution. This is an opportunity to provide real progressive needs and solutions into the process. Will it be a fruitful opportunity? I would love to hear from those who participated in previous Obama discussion groups if they were productive for Obama, for the process, and for you.
The Obama/Biden plan for health care reform seems uncontroversial and modest imo:
* Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
* Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
* Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
* Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
* Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees' health care.
* Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
* Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.
Notice the goal element I bolded,
...a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
Here's the meat. This is the element we need to endorse, the portal to true change. If Obama can open Medicare to All or have a similar plan for all Americans to join at reasonable rates then we are on the road to reform.
Naturally, in this insurance industry friendly modality, opponents will have full access to resist and cripple efforts toward a public plan option. If they fail and a public plan is established, the insurance industry has a number of ways they can game the system to make the public portal fail.
In the hope that it will be a worthy effort, let's support this invitation to get involved and get our input documented within Obama's framework.