( – promoted by DocHoc)
For those of you who would like to see comprehensive health care reform soon, the answer from Oklahoma’s congressional delegation is: “Wait until next year.”
Everything gives way to the uncertainty of presidential elections every four years. This year, it’s doubly so because of the Obama-McCain contest.
I concluded a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., Wednesday. While there I met with consumer groups and staffers from the offices U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Tulsa), U.S. Rep. Dan Boren (D-Muskogee) and U.S. Rep. John Sullivan (R-Tulsa). Although we didn’t limit our conversations to health care, the subject dominated.
I sensed a common consensus developing over health care, even if the election-year standstill will push back large-scale reform efforts until the next administration measures the drapes in the Oval Office – if health care reform comes up at all.
The Associated Press had this to say:
WASHINGTON (AP) – As Congress returns from summer recess, lawmakers are expected to continue needling pharmaceutical makers and health insurers with investigations, while holding off on major health care reform until next year. Click here to read the rest of the article. http://news.moneycentral.msn.c…
Not all health care reform is polarized, however. Piecemeal reforms, such as expanding insurance coverage through innovative use of Medicaid funds (the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s Insure Oklahoma/O-EPIC program is a frequently cited examples of this) and increased use of electronic medical records to cut costs and errors, seem agreeable.
Unfortunately, permission to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to raise the income level to cover more people under Insure Oklahoma/O-EPIC appears stalled for now, the staffers said.
They also stressed their bosses’ support for prevention and education, and the need to better reimburse physicians who treat Medicare patients.
The Foundation can’t disagree with either point, even if the details are sketchy. Congress this summer overrode a presidential veto of a bill to stall a 10.6 percent Medicare fee cut. In the House, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore) was the only member of the Oklahoma delegation to vote against the override. In the Senate, both U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee) and Inhofe voted against the override.
Many Republicans support increasing health insurance coverage by giving tax credits to employers who provide coverage; McCain has proposed this. Allowing greater choice of health plans and permitting small businesses to form regional (or larger) cooperatives to have better purchasing power are also common-sense possibilities.
These aren’t the large-scale reforms the Foundation believes are necessary, but they’re a start … and that’s something.
Oklahoma Foundation for Consumer & Patient Rights