As LIVESTRONG president, Doug Ulman, mentioned in his most recent blog for the Washington Post, it is more important to get healthcare reform right than to get it done fast. But to do this, it is just as important to understand the different policies in each bill and to have your voices heard.
But part of the challenge with understanding healthcare reform is the enormity of the bills and the policies they will enact. The bills can be upwards of 1000 pages. It is no small feat to go through the bills and understand their impact. During this month of August, Congress will take its recess to come home and talk with their constituents. There are many questions to be asked and many answers to be given.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a respectable health policy non-profit organization, launched a website to do side by side comparisons of the various bills. You can search terms of interest such as ?individual mandates? or ?tax changes? and compare how the bills address these issues. You simply click on the topic of interest and click on the different bills and the website will generate a chart for you. This is a great resource for those who want a non-partisan analysis of what each bill really says.
Of all the healthcare reform bills introduced, there are two main bills, the House Tri-Committee bill and the Senate HELP Committee bill, that are receiving the majority of attention. A full side-by-side comparison of these two bills can be found here. The Senate Finance Committee has released some proposal options and it is expected that it will be releasing its reform bill after the August recess. It is likely that the Finance bill will also be one of the major bills to define our new healthcare system. So it will be an important bill to track and analyze.
On the national front, many of us at LIVESTRONG are working with congressional and administration officials to make sure the new healthcare system is effective in both ensuring the health and care of the individual as well as ensuring the stability of the system. And because cancer covers the entire healthcare continuum from prevention and early detection through diagnosis and treatment and ultimately to survivorship and long term care, if you can make the system work for cancer, you can make it work for everything. We encourage you to get involved in the dialogue to make sure that the new system that comes out will work for all Americans.