President Obama held a health care reform summit today at the White House, and HHS launched a new health care reform website. The President emphasized his support for full-scale health care reform this year. The Washington Post reports that
Scott Serota, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, told the group that opposition to health care reform by insurers is a thing of the past. “We are embracing the need for reform,” he said. “We believe the time is right for appropriate and sustainable health care reform.” He said reform should include an “enforceable individual mandate” for health insurance coverage, which he called the “cornerstone” for universal coverage.
Congressional Quarterly and Business Insurance also reported on the summit.
Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus has offered a health care reform plan that would utilize a national health insurance exchange and an individual mandate similar to the Massachusetts state health care reform plan. His committee will be holding two health care reform hearings next week. Interestingly, President Obama opposed now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s individual mandate for adults proposal during the campaign last year.
Congressional Quarterly also reports that
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Thursday that House and Senate Democratic leaders are discussing whether to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to move major elements of President Obama’s agenda this year. At the top of that list are the president’s health care overhaul and his climate change proposal, which would impose a cap on carbon dioxide emissions and then sell emission permits that companies could use or trade. A Hoyer aide said changes in the federal student loan program also could move through reconciliation. The Maryland Democrat emphasized that no decisions have been made, and that leaders have just begun discussing how to proceed.