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BIO 2009: Wednesday Keynote Lunch Panel on Health Reform Live-ish Blog Part 2

BIO 2009More from panelists Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, Karl Rove and Howard Dean, and moderator health journalist Susan Dentzer (Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs). Click here for part 1.

Next topic: process. Regular legislative process or reconciliation?

TD – No reconciliation needed as long as current process (esp. Senate Finance Committee) continues to work well in a bipartisan manner.

BF – shouldn’t need to resort to reconciliation.

TD – reconciliation/filibuster go together.

SD says Michael Steele spoke yesterday about taking on the President head on – does that apply?

KR throws Steele under the bus, saying something to the effect that Steele’s statement was about Steele as Chair of the party, not about this debate.

Next: Biosimilars. Will we see a 10-12 year period?

The panel is afraid of tomatoes (or shoes) because both HD (quite explicitly) and TD (less so) get universal nods of assent (and applause) for long exclusivity periods, everyone having temporarily forgotten about the last 45 minutes of universal nods of assent for cost containment. Yay innovation!

SD Wrapping up: looking forward, what can we expect?

BF – A big plan will pass, but not until next year. $1.5 trillion, universal coverage.

HD – This year, public plan.

KR – Congress will not pass a public plan with any Republican support. Totally supportive of a plan that costs no new money and relies entirely on private sector solutions. Can’t fight something with nothing, though, so look for substantive alternatives from Republican participants. Oh, and HD is an “ignorant twit”. Ha ha, he’s just kidding though. The end.

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BIO 2009: Wednesday Keynote Lunch Panel on Health Reform Live-ish Blog

BIO 2009The panelists today are Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, Karl Rove and Howard Dean, and the moderator is health journalist Susan Dentzer (Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs).

First topic: Harry and Louise (Susan calls them The Two Horsepeople of the Healthcare Apocalypse). Where are they today?

TD – Want to get something done, concerned about costs of healthcare.

BF – Cost. Is a changed system going to be more expensive for them.

HD – Need a public option (not replacement).

KR – Cost, portability, relationship with doctor. 70% with insurance view their current healthcare as good or excellent.

Second topic: current plans on the legislative table.

BF – Responsibility to insure uninsured (a number he puts at 15-18 million). Mirrors a point KR made in response to HD – the risk of “crowd-out”, i.e., people being “dumped” from private plans and other market-distorting effects of having a public plan.

SD – Public plan in House bill, not clear in Senate. Outcome?

HD won’t prognosticate. Comes back to putting both options on the table.

KR – Don’t need public plan to provide choice, cf Medicare drug plan.

Panel drinking game: take a shot every time someone cites a poll with obviously biased question language. Seriously, people, room full of empiricists here.

Third topic: how to pay?

BF – wins for working “taxes” and “spending” into a single sentence.

HD – Gas tax at 10 cents a gallon would pay the whole thing.

TD – Will lose the debate if people believe the reforms won’t create savings overall.

HD and KR fight about whose deficit is bigger, and I’ll move the rest to a new post.

 Click here for Part 2…

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