Congress will lose a giant on health care issues (and yes, tax, trade, pension, etc, etc) at the end of this Congress with the retirement of House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA). His intellect is as legendary as is his sharp tongue … and I’ve seen both up close and personal. Without his leadership, we would not have had the Medicare Modernization Act (and its reform elements) or Health Savings Accounts. The move towards consumerism would be stuck firmly in fledgling stage. The Patients’ Bill of Rights might well be the law of the land. Our nation and our nation’s health care system owes Bill Thomas a mighty debt … and no, it does not involve a yacht.
Not everybody around Washington or health policy circles is a Bill Thomas fan. I am and we at the NAM will certainly count on his continued leadership.