Monday, November 24, 2008

Ron Wyden's "Healthy Americans Act"


Senator Ron Wyden’s “Healthy Americans Act” is an important idea in the health care debate. His PDF file describing it is here.

The govtrack reference is S 334 (110th Congress) here. Senator Wyden is a Democratic Senator from Oregon.

The bill would allow each American to purchase a HAPI or Health Americans Private Insurance Plan and calls for employers to make “shared responsibility payments”. It would terminate the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It would make health insurance mandatory in a manner a bit like the Massachusetts plan. It aims to provide a level of care that members of Congress enjoy for “an affordable price.”

On p B03 of the Sunday Outlook section of The Washington Post, Nov. 23, Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel, “5 Myths About our Ailing Health Care System,” link here. America does not have care as good as many other western countries that spend less, link here. Most of the runnup comes from excessive tests (to avoid malpractice) and adoption of new technologies that do not offer radically improved outcomes. It is true that some outcomes have improved radically, as with HIV disease, and with the control of heart disease with carefully monitored medications.

The story mentions the Lewin Group's analysis of the bill, although I could not find that today on the Lewin web site.

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