Jill Burcum: Health care leaders push reform

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM
  • Updated: February 24, 2010 - 3:05 PM


At times, it's felt like President Obama was the only one out there trying to resuscitate health care reform after Republican Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate victory. But this week, with the president's health care summit looming on Thursday, some influential organizations are stepping forward with much-needed public support for a renewed reform push.

The National Education Association is running pro-reform print and radio ads. And on Tuesday, a coalition of influential health providers and insurers announced that they've bought a full-page ad in Roll Call magazine calling for "patient-centered" reform -- increased coverage, payment reform and changes to improve the quality of care. It sounds a lot like key proposals in the Senate bill, which formed the foundation of the plan released by the White House on Monday.

The Roll Call ad will run just as the GOP and Democrats are sitting down in Washington on Thursday, to try and thrash out an agreement. Midwestern health leaders who've signed the ad include: Mayo Clinic CEO and President John Noseworthy, HealthPartners President and CEO Mary Brainerd, Karl Ulrich of Wisconsin's Marshfield Clinic, and Toby Cosgrove, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. The heads of the Geisinger Health System and Aetna also signed on.

Other noteworthy names on the ad include R. Bruce Josten, an executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Karen Ignani, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group with more than 1,300 members.

Washington insiders are skeptical that much will come of the summit. Still, it can't hurt to have health care industry heavyweights like these urging the nation to do something instead of nothing. It also undercuts the nonsense that reform is some kind of socialist scheme. Politicians who want to drop reform should take heed. These are just a few of the people who will hold them accountable if reform grinds to a permanent halt.


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