What Are the Next Steps for Making Health-Care Reform Happen?

Though there's broad agreement among Americans that our health-care system needs to change, we do not yet agree on how to do it. It's time to start a serious conversation. Any solution must be measured against some basic agreements: that it covers everyone, assures a high-quality of care, contains costs, finances care fairly, is publicly accountable, and guarantees the right to choose where we go for health care and who will provide it.

A lot of people make a lot of money on health care in America. They have direct access to our leaders and use their vast resources to influence public policy and public opinion whenever changes are proposed. We need strong voices to counter their influence.

Robert E. Moffit

Director, Center for Health Policy Studies, the Heritage Foundation

Two thoughts come to mind.

First, at the very least, Congress should enact an individual health care tax credit for individuals and families who do not or cannot get health insurance through the place of work. This would create a level playing field between employment and non-employment based health insurance, and resolves some of the glaring inequities in the health insurance markets that today penalize low income working people.

Second, state officials could transform their uncompensated care subsidies to hospitals and other health-care facilities into a pool for the funding of vouchers for low-income people without health coverage, as was done recently in Massachusetts.

Debra Ness

President, National Partnership for Women and Families

We need to put in place performance standards and collect data and share it with the public. That will help consumers make smart decisions about what doctor, what surgeon, what hospital to go to. Poor care and medical errors are costing lives every day. There is no time to waste.

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