The FRESH-Thinking Project is made up of physicians, health insurance executives, hospital administrators, economists and other experts and interest groups, representing a diverse crowd who held a number of workshops and agreed on several recommendations they say are essential for health-care reform to be successful.
They recommend that in-order for insurance exchanges to be efficient and competitive on cost and value, they all must have standardized packages. How these packages are designed will require technical details so an independent board should be set up to make options available for these packages and Congress and the administration could accept or reject these.
The packages will detail what the base coverage the employer based plans must have to be eligible for tax exclusions. Individuals should have options to purchase packages with more coverage (Emanuel, April 7, 2009).
What Mr. Obama’s bill has proposed is a fifteen member board made up of experts that will essentially take away some of Congress’s authority to set Medicare policies. The board will be selected by the administration and confirmed by the Senate and each member will serve a six year term. The appointees will be chosen due to their expertise in finance, health-care and economics.
The function of the board will be to develop a strategy of program cuts if Medicare costs go above predetermined levels, and its’ recommendations will go into effect unless Congress and the White House agree on substitute plans which yield equal savings.
While the board will not be allowed to increase insurance premiums or decrease benefits, it would have at its mercy the payments to doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.
This part of the bill has upset a lot of drug makers, and lobbyists for doctors to mention just a few. The purpose of the board is to cut spending in medical insurance for the aged, because Medicare and Medicaid spending is expected to grow by 7 percent each year in the next ten years.
Hospitals too will be facing payment cuts. Interest groups like the American Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and manufacturers of America are bothered by the board’s vast authority to make substantial changes to the Medicare system without any challenge by the Congress (Faler, 2010).
While it is recommended that individuals have options as to which of the packages they wish to choose the bill will force people to get their care through something called “medical home.” A primary doctor will be assigned and he will control your access to specialists. All freedom to choose anything is removed.