Health policy experts disagree about how to expand access to health coverage, but many agree that the federal government should ensure that all Americans have coverage for “basic and essential health care services.”
Researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office have presented that finding in a review of a recent GAO forum on the future of the U.S. health care system.
The GAO polled the 29 forum participants to get their opinions about how the federal government and state governments might improve health care and health finance.
The 29 participants included Charles Kahn, a former president of the old Health Insurance Association of America, Washington, who now leads a hospital trade group, and Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington.
The participant list also included representatives from consumer groups, Democratic think tanks, and analytical organizations, such as the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.
The GAO found no agreement among forum participants about whether states or the federal government should “take the lead in expanding access to health insurance to all residents” or whether “the United States should continue to rely on employer-sponsored health care coverage as the backbone of the U.S. system of coverage,” according to the GAO staffers who wrote the forum report.
But the GAO found that many of the participants agreed that “the federal government should assure that a health insurance market exists that adequately pools risk and offers alternative levels of coverage.”
The GAO found strong agreement for the idea that “the federal government should ensure that all Americans are covered for basic and essential health care services.”