New House Testimony on Health Reform: Karen Davis Says 'Use What Works'

eAlert 610a7c8f-e057-4c8a-a5c7-6ace12054a4f

<p>Owing to their decades of success in providing many of our most vulnerable citizens with access to health care and financial protection, Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program "warrant serious consideration as building blocks for a new system of seamless coverage for America's 46 million uninsured people," Karen Davis said today in her <a href="/publications/testimonies/2008/sep/testimony--using-what-works--medicare--medicaid--and-the-state-childrens-health-insurance-program-as
">invited testimony</a> before a key congressional subcommittee.<br><br>Testifying at the hearing, "America's Need for Health Reform," held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, the Commonwealth Fund president argued that "preserving a mixed private–public system of coverage has many advantages." Chief among them, she said, were the ability to limit disruptions in current coverage, build on the strengths of public programs and private coverage, and minimize the need for costly new administrative structures.<br><br>Davis believes Congress should begin laying the foundation for broader health reform that ensures affordable coverage for all Americans. The first steps should include:<ul><li>leveraging Medicare's position as the largest payer for health care to improve health care quality and slow the growth in health care costs;</li><li>strengthening Medicaid and SCHIP to serve as a base of coverage for all low-income children and adults;</li><li>reforming individual insurance markets; and</li><li>making affordable insurance options, including a public insurance option, available to small businesses and individuals through an insurance connector.</ul><br>"These are steps that build on what already works," Davis said. "A mixed private–public system of universal coverage, with coordination across sources of coverage...would build on the best that both private insurance and public programs have to offer and also achieve needed savings and ensure access to essential care for all."</p>