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Obama: Health reform after the election

Barack ObamaNow that the election is over, AHCJ is gathering resources to track President Barack Obama's plans for health care reform once he's in the White House, as well as related topics in the new administration, such as appointments to surgeon general, HHS and FDA.

According to the Office of the President-Elect at, Obama's health care plan would:

  • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
  • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
  • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
  • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
  • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees' health care.
  • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
  • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.

Talking Health web casts:

Obama presidency: Does his health plan stand a chance?

Covering the Uninsured

Tip sheet:

Resources for covering Obama's health care proposal
This tip sheet includes contact information for a number of experts.

Links: - The Obama-Biden Plan

Video (from Former Sen. Daschle responds on health care (Dec. 2, 2008), from the St. Petersburg Times, will track Obama's progress on creating a "National Health Insurance Exchange.

Rand Corp's Health Compare: An evidence-based approach to providing information and tools to help policymakers, the media, and other interested parties understand, design, and evaluate health policies.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a section of its Web site focused on health reform.

Baucus Watch

This is an occasional series of posts by CJR's Trudy Lieberman about Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health care pronouncements as reported by the media in his own state and by the national press.
Part I Part II Part III


President's Corner: Journalists must do better to inform, educate public (HealthBeat, Fall 2008)
AHCJ president Trudy Lieberman says that the coverage has been punctuated largely by several themes that have contributed to erroneous assumptions on the part of our audiences.

Health Care Reform — Why So Much Talk and So Little Action? (NEJM, Jan. 15, 2008)
Victor R. Fuchs, Ph.D., writes that “In pursuing comprehensive health care reform, President-elect Obama should be aware of four major reasons why, in the past, we heard so much talk and saw so little action.“

Visions for Change in U.S. Health Care — The Players and the Possibilities (NEJM, Jan. 15, 2008)
John K. Iglehart looks at " health-related items are being considered as elements of the early stimulus package, largely to prevent people who lose their jobs from losing their coverage and to begin investing in the infrastructure for a more efficient delivery system" as well as looking into the future and Obama's proposal for reform.
Also included: An interactive graphic about the key players in health care reform

Covering Health: Speculation begins on new FDA, CDC leaders (Jan. 14, 2009)

Budget Director Pick Sounds Alarm (Jan. 13, 2009)
Peter R. Orszag, Obama's choice for budget director, says the principal cause of the nation's long-term budget problems is rising health costs. He suggested several steps to increase the efficiency of the health care system.

Covering Health: Three health-care issues Obama, Congress will face (Jan. 12, 2009)

A Headline Writer Gets Carried Away: A real plan, or a lot of sweet talk from Daschle and his Senate colleagues? (Jan. 12, 2009)
"Daschle Lays Out a Plan to Overhaul Health Care," the headline read. So maybe, I thought, the health chief and his team had come forth with some SPECIFICS about what they really had in mind for reform. ... But when push came to shove, there was no pushing and no shoving. The second Times story reported that the senators gave Daschle a "friendly welcome," listened to him tell stories about people who had no insurance, heard him say that he wanted to work with Republicans and that he would not rush through legislation under fast-track budget procedures. ... As every reporter knows, headlines can be misleading, and that's what happened here.

Daschle Lays Out Ideas for Health Care Reform in Confirmation Hearing (Jan. 9, 2009) 

Covering Health: Some have doubts about Gupta as surgeon general (Jan. 8, 2009)

ProPublica: Obama Eyes ‘Provider Conscience' Rule (Dec. 17, 2008)
Jesse Nankin looks at the White House's approval of a regulation that would allow health care workers at federally-funded institutions to deny treatment they find morally objectionable, known as "provider conscience." It's one of a list of last minute rules that could affect health care that the administration is implementing. The Obama transition team has been busy considering the options for how to reverse this rule

New York Times: Insurers seek presence at health care sessions (Dec. 16, 2008)
This article describes how the health insurance industry is encouraging its employees and satisfied customers to attend Obama's health care brainstorming sessions.

Baltimore Sun: Sharfstein is favorite son for FDA post (Dec. 16, 2008)
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Baltimore's outspoken health commissioner, is regarded by many as a leading candidate to head the Food and Drug Administration.

Billings Gazette: Reporter's Notebook: Why is single-payer health reform not viable? (Dec. 1, 2008)

Business Week: Health-Care MBAs See Brighter Future (Dec. 2, 2008)

Los Angeles Times: Consensus emerging on universal healthcare (Dec. 1, 2008)

Chicago Tribune: Lower-cost drugs predicted under Obama administration (Nov. 30, 2008)

NPR: Health care for all (July/August 2008)

Earlier: Election 2008