Gene talks with Mark Zitter, founder of the Zetema Project, bringing healthcare leaders together for civil discourse.
Bangor Daily News
Monday’s report on the Senate health care bill from the Congressional Budget Office said 22 million people would lose coverage under the plan and that coverage in the non-group market would become far stingier than it is today. By Tuesday, the bill had been pulled back for revision.
Trump's plan to sell insurance across state lines wouldn't accomplish much. Dating back to the campaign trail, the president repeatedly has touted a proposal to deregulate the insurance market, saying that if carriers were able to sell the same plans across state lines, the cost to consumers would fall.
Just one small wrinkle: "It’s already possible to sell insurance across state lines," Mark Zitter of the Zetema Project writes in POLITICO's Agenda — partly because the Affordable Care Act explicitly allows states to choose to offer the option. "But the number of insurance companies that have taken advantage of this exciting new opportunity is exactly zero."
I chair the Zetema Project, whose mission is to foster open dialogue and debate on U.S. health care issues. Panelists include Republicans and Democrats, policymakers from the Obama White House and both Bush administrations, current Capitol Hill staffers, and senior executives representing hospitals, insurers, the pharmaceutical industry, organized medicine, employers, patients and other key stakeholders. The group comes together in candid, off-the-record meetings not to work out solutions but to argue about issues deeply to make sure everyone understands their differences. You would think that this group couldn’t agree on much of anything, and you’d be right—almost.
The Zetema Project hosted a conversation on health care between Democrat Bob Kocher, MD, who advised President Barack Obama, and Republican Lanhee Chen, who advised Mitt Romney.
Our editor Joanne Kenen just spent two days in Atlanta with a diverse group of health care experts — liberal and conservative, public and private sector — organized by the Zetema Project. It’s a new effort led by health entrepreneur Mark Zitter to scotch the rhetoric and get people with different perspectives talking.
Joanne's take: "A lot of the talk was quite technical — in our health policy world, instead of having an inner child, we seem to have inner actuaries. But quite a few in the group (by no means all) expected ‘repeal and replace’ to look a lot like ‘repeal … repair … rebrand' — and have Trump declare it: 'A Great Repeal. Fantastic.' Of course, these were policy experts, not political operatives. The calculus may be different inside TrumpWorld.
"On key GOP priorities, the group was divided on HSAs — but most of the liberals weren’t that vehement, perhaps because they’re resigned to some expansion as inevitable.
"Former Bush II HHS Deputy Secretary Alex Azar strongly defended his home state Indiana’s experiment with HSA-like accounts for the low-income population; Intermountain’s Brett James spoke of how popular these accounts have become among Intermountain employees (their accounts are generously funded, and Intermountain is not typical of America.) "
Some GOP ideas get cool reception. Joanne continues: "The group voiced a great deal of skepticism about high-risk pools — and those who embraced the concept acknowledged they need to be well-funded. And that 'across state lines' idea strongly promoted by Trump himself got a great big fat Meh. Almost everyone doubted plans would take up the option, or that it would make much difference.
"Pretty much everyone concurred that waste was a huge factor in health care costs — but could be addressed with the right incentives and discipline. And they agreed that health spending was heading in an 'unsustainable rate' for the next 10 years, though as one noted, it had been doing that 'for the last 50.'"