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New Lewin Group Report Examines Potential Combination Of Two Major Congressional Health Reform Efforts

April 23, 2009

Combined Baucus And Wyden Plan Meets President's Health Reform Goals, Controls Costs And Expands Coverage To All Without Increasing Federal Deficit

Click here to download the full report.

FALLS CHURCH, VA – April 23, 2009 - The Lewin Group released a report today titled “Harmonizing the Obama, Baucus and Wyden/Bennett Health Reform Proposals: Technical Feasibility.” This report identifies similarities and differences of the coverage provisions of the Healthy Americans Act (HAA, led by Senators Wyden and Bennett, with 14 bipartisan co-sponsors) and the proposal offered by Senator Baucus, and presents ideas on how these differences could be resolved. Lewin Group researchers identify the specific elements of both proposals taken together that would meet President Obama’s eight health reform goals stated in the budget proposal to Congress, forming a bill that achieves universal coverage and controls cost in the public and private sectors, without increasing the federal deficit.  Finally, due to the complexity of reform, the paper discusses how the coverage provisions could be phased-in over a period of four years as suggested in the Baucus report.

A combined proposal would include:

  • A requirement that all Americans have coverage;
  • Subsidies for the purchase of insurance for people living below 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL);
  • Creation of a network of “exchanges” nationwide to provide access to a range of affordable health plans;
  • Requirement that employers contribute to the cost of covering their workers;
  • Employers would be able to continue providing health insurance;
  • The bill would prohibit insurers from declining coverage due to health status;
  • Extension of Medicaid protection to 100 percent of the  FPL; and
  • A public plan option, though the Baucus and HAA proposals differ in their approach.

John Sheils, the study’s principal author and senior vice president at The Lewin Group, is available to discuss this analysis. He has over 25 years in health reform analysis and financial modeling.  This analysis enhances prior work done by The Lewin Group of the major party presidential candidate health reform proposals during the 2008 campaign, as well as more recent analyses of Congressional plans being considered.  The objective is to advance the health reform debate by identifying areas of agreement among two prominent proposals, not to advocate for or against any particular approach.

About The Lewin Group
The Lewin Group is a premier national health care and human services consulting firm with nearly 40 years’ experience finding answers and solving problems for leading organizations in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. With its industry experience and knowledge, The Lewin Group provides its clients with high-quality products and insightful support to help them maximize the delivery of programs and services that make a difference in the lives of their constituents. For more information on The Lewin Group, visit www.lewin.com.

The Lewin Group is an OptumInsight company.  OptumInsight, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, was founded in 1996 to develop, acquire and integrate the world's best-in-class health care information technology capabilities.  For more information, visit www.optuminsight.com.  The Lewin Group operates with editorial independence and provides its clients with the very best expert and impartial health care and human services policy research and consulting services.

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