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New health reform strategy would insure everyone, improve health and slow spending growth
Date:2/18/2009

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For families and employers, a national insurance exchange offering private plans and a new nationwide public plan would enhance choice. The public plan optionwith premiums at least 20 percent lower than currently charged by private fee-for-service plans for comparable benefits, especially in small group marketswould challenge private insurers to innovate and reduce administrative costs. The exchange and reforms could lower administrative costs for all plans. The Commission notes the goal would be to achieve a balance in which public and private plans compete with market rules that stimulate innovation and outcomes in the public interest.

"The report's central message is that we all stand to gain by taking bold action," said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President and report lead author Cathy Schoen. "With middle-income as well as low-income families at risk, and businesses struggling to provide insurance for their employees, there is broad public support for fundamental change. Windows of opportunity for real health reform do not stay open long. The Commission has laid out a challenging but navigable path to a more secure future."

Also today, in a New England Journal of Medicine commentary, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis expands upon the Path report and discusses the politically difficult changes needed to transform how we pay for and deliver health care. In "Investing in Health Care Reform," Davis says such a set of reforms could offset two-thirds of the cumulative federal budget costs of expanding coverage to everyone, while employers, households, and state and local governments could see substantial net savings. Davis concludes that "it is time to change 'business as usual' and invest in the health care reforms that will benefit the public and patients and put our nation on a sounder economic footing."


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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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