The House Ways and Means Committee has added a post about its health care reform conversation with HHS Secretary Sibelius held on May 6. There will be another health care reform round table before the Senate Finance Committee on May 12. The topic will be Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform. The AP ran a story early this afternoon on the difficulty of financing reform. "The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, said 'it's clear that the financing of this is not going to be easy.' Baucus, D-Mont., says the basic approach to health care must become more economically efficient." In a possible answer to the Chairman's prayers, the AP reports tonight that "Hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors planned to tell Obama on Monday [tomorrow] they'll voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years in a move that government economists say would create breathing room to help provide health insurance to an estimated 50 million Americans who now go without it." This will be interesting.
The New York Times featured an interesting story last week on the opposing viewpoints on the new comparative effectiveness movement.
For now, proponents and critics are warily circling one another, as the first
administrative steps of the process unfold.
A panel of government health experts is holding a series of public hearings at which people can suggest medical conditions for comparative effectiveness reviews. Then, in late June, that federal panel and the Institute
of Medicine, a part of the National Academies of Science, will issue reports
recommending priorities for comparative research. Past combatants expect the fighting to start as soon as such studies start identifying winners and losers.
Business Insurance reported on possible health insurer M&A activity in the offing spurred by health care reform.
The Federal Times reports that "A bill that would provide four weeks of paid leave for new parents [who are federal employees] was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday [May 6]. HR 626, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, was passed by a voice vote. It will now head to the full House, but a vote has not been scheduled."