Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Health Savings Accounts - Four New Ideas to Jumpstart Reform

On Wedneday. March 3, President Obama will announce he is open to these four GOP ideas.

One, conducting undercover investigations of Medicare and Medicaid providers to search for waste, fraud and abuse, an idea put forth by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., at least week's summit.

Two, experimenting with specialized health courts as an alternative to jury trials in medical malpractice cases to cut down on defensive medicine. That idea has been promoted both by Democrats and Republicans, including Coburn and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who attended the summit. The approach calls for an expert judge — not a jury — to hear the evidence and make a final determination in cases where a patient has suffered harm. Trial lawyers are strongly opposed to the concept.

, Obama also will agree that health savings accounts can be offered in new markets his plan sets up for individuals and small business to purchase coverage. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., brought up the idea at the summit.

Four , Obama also will suggest increasing reimbursements to Medicaid providers, a concern raised by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

These ideas will not win GOP support for the whole Obama package, which calls for 31 million more covered and a universal mandate to buy insurance, nor will the ideas necessarily gain 216 votes needed in the House to make health reform a reality. The new Obama proposal is said to “much smaller” than anything previously proposed and may reflect Obama’s desire to get something, anything, passed to preserve his domestic legacy.

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