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Panel Proposes National Insurance Exchange Strategy

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The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System is recommending that the United States offer all residents a health coverage system similar to the Medicare system.

The country should offer a new, nationwide public plan along with a national exchange that consumers can use to buy private coverage, commission members write in a new health reform proposal report.

The Commonwealth Fund, New York, a health policy think tank, organized the commission.

The commission does not include representatives from for-profit health insurers.

The nonprofit health plan representatives on the commission are George Halvorson, chairman of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Oakland, Calif., and Cleve Killingsworth, chairman Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston.

In addition to creating a health insurance exchange, the commission says, the country should provide subsidies and impose regulatory changes to make sure that coverage is affordable and accessible for all; use payment systems that encourage doctors and hospitals to provide fewer, higher quality services; do a better job of coordinating patient care; and invest in health information technology, public health services and quality programs.