Obama Healthcare Reform

President-Elect Obama is working on coordinating a massive economic stimulus bill to be introduced in January 2009.  Last week I had the chance to meet with several lawyers from Washington that are instrumental in working with members of the House and Senate regarding healthcare reform.  Our conversation was enlightening and reaffirmed much of what we have written to our clients. The most interesting aspect of our discussion is the growing belief that deficits don’t matter — at least over the short-run.  Senator Obama has discussed this openly when talking about infrastructure spending and has also referred to healthcare spending.  A move to a universal healthcare system, creation of a healthcare oversight board and a broad information technology mandate all will cost a great amount of money.   One gets the sense that the Obama Administration is quite willing to throw massive amounts of money at a problem and not worry about future budgetary consequences. That is not necessarily bad for healthcare service companies, and in fact could result in a lower than expected reduction in reimbursement rates in 2010. Medicare reform legislation typically is done as stand-along legislation.   As such each Medicare bill must stand on its own with regard to …

Obama’s Choice to Fix Healthcare — Tom Daschle

President elect Obama has named Tom Daschle as the next head of Health & Human Services (HHS), the agency that oversees Medicare. I was shocked by the choice and in talking with healthcare execs, there is a unanimous belief that this is a disaster for healthcare providers. I think that any expectation that the Obama administration will move to the center is destroyed with this appointment. There are very few people in this world that I have a visceral reaction to hearing their name — and Tom Daschle is at the top of the list. I can’t think of anyone who is more partisan in his approach, more scorch the earth in his actions than former Senator Daschle. If a Republican proposes something – anything – the idea is horrible. If a Democrat proposes something – anything – the idea walks on water. Senator Daschle joined Alston & Bird, an excellent international law firm, after leaving the Senate. Former Senator Bob Dole and former Medicare head Tom Scully are also with the firm. Prior to the election Alston & Bird sent out a mailer to clients with comments by both Senator Dole and Senator Daschle about the upcoming election. As …