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HHS Secretary Leavitt's Health Care Proposals Hold Promise

Armen Hareyan's picture

HHS Secretary MikeLeavitt "has been characterized as an ogre" for his opposition to theSCHIP compromise bill -- which he has said "is too ambitious and tooexpensive, encroaching on the private insurance market" -- but hisproposals for health care reform hold "promise of a better day not justfor children but for all Americans," Washington Postcolumnist David Broder writes in his column. According to Broder,Leavitt proposes a "radically different kind of medical marketplace, inwhich families armed with specific information about the treatmentsuccess and prices of hospitals and doctors can show at will for thebest quality and most affordable care."

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Broder adds thatLeavitt "envisages a system in which best practices would be defined bynational groups of physicians and business economists but localcommittees would do the ratings of doctors and hospitals ... to buildpublic trust." In addition, Leavitt seeks to establish anelectronically linked network of community organizations that represent"business, labor, physicians, hospitals and other key players" to form,"in effect, national standards for measuring the delivery of healthcare," Broder writes.

"We are a long way from that now, andgetting there will require continued leadership from the federalgovernment," Broder writes, adding, "But Leavitt's view is that thegovernment should not own health care; instead, it should organize thehealth care marketplace and then let competition based on fullinformation proceed" (Broder, Washington Post, 10/21).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.