Health Care Update

By March 6, 2006Health Care

NAM Board Endorses New Health Care Reform Agenda, Greater Transparency in Health Care – follow this link to read the NAM Board of Directors’ Resolution on Health Care Reform Principles. The resolution and a special new Board-level health care taskforce were adopted on March 3, 2006 at our Spring meeting in Arizona. I told you this was going to be a busy health care meeting….

Simply put, the NAM Board expects more from the health care system … much as we manufacturers have long worked in an atmosphere of continuous improvement to provide more value at a lower cost. Our combined purchasing clout can help drive change towards a more responsive and consumer-friendly health care system. The NAM resolution calls for:

  • Greater transparency in health care
  • Early implementation of health information technology (Health IT)
  • Prevention and better management of chronic diseases
  • Better management of high-dollar health care claims, and
  • Greater focus on consumerism
  • Enzi-Nelson Bill Scheduled for March 8 Markup – the long-awaited Enzi-Nelson bill (S. 1955) markup is scheduled for a March 8 markup in the Senate HELP Committee. This much needed compromise between advocates of association health plans [AHPs; now known as Small Business Health Plans (SBHPs)] and more traditional plans regulated by the states holds promise to fully and finally resolve the long-standing AHP/SBHP debate. I described this debate to NAM Board members as being akin to pushing a bee-bee through molasses. We support Chairman Enzi’s efforts (both Herculean and Solomonic) to bridge differences and bring this debate to a deserved end.

    The fate of S. 1955 is far from certain. But, the NAM and our like-minded allies on both sides of this fight would do well to climb out of the trenches and find ways to support this effort to help make small business purchasing more cost-effective on a level playing field with other market entrants. SBHPs are far from the only answer to health care, but it is long past time that Congress acts or not on this issue. They should act….