The health insurance industry has won the critical support of a private sector consensus committee as one of the “pillars” of healthcare delivery system reform.
The support came as momentum grew in Washington for passage of legislation providing a means for everyone to have some form of coverage–perhaps as early as this year.
The new report by the Health Reform Dialogue, a group designed to develop a consensus for reform, was issued in the same week as health insurance industry trade group officials reiterated before a Senate Committee their willingness to provide health coverage to all individuals, regardless of health status.
The industry is willing to do that, said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, if that is what is needed to secure legislation creating a comprehensive health reform plan that requires individuals to have coverage.
The members of the Dialogue include representatives of small business, unions, industry, and AHIP, the American Hospital Association, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
It came as the House and Senate worked to complete the 2010 budget resolution, a blueprint for action on the budget for the coming fiscal year. Both houses of Congress were aiming to complete work on their resolutions before they left for a two-week Easter/Passover recess.
The Senate resolution currently does not include reconciliation instructions for healthcare reform, but Democrats were working at press-time to secure the votes for adding it.
And the House resolution does include reconciliation instructions for healthcare reform and education legislation.
If the final budget resolution contains such language, it would increase the likelihood Congress could pass such legislation this year, because such language enables those employing it to avoid Senate filibusters, according to industry lobbyists and congressional staffers.
Specifically, the Dialogue report says healthcare reform programs should be based on the “pillars” of the current system, employer-sponsored insurance and public safety-net programs for low-income people and families.