Phil Galewitz covers Medicaid, Medicare, long‐term care, hospitals and various state health issues. He has covered the health beat for nearly two decades. He is a board member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. In 2004‐05, he was a Kaiser Media Fellow and wrote about community solutions to the uninsured. Before coming to KHN, he was at The Palm Beach Post and was a national health industry writer for the Associated Press and The Patriot‐ News in Harrisburg, Pa. He has a BA in health planning and administration and a master's in public administration with an emphasis in health policy. | Contact: PGalewitz@kff.org | @PhilGalewitz
With 66 general hospitals, cancer centers, home services, clinics and nursing homes, Ascension Health is an important player in the U.S. health care system. President and CEO Anthony Tersigni has a message for Washington lawmakers: "We want to make sure we keep the agenda on the right focus - caring for all in this country."
Charles "Chip" Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, has been a major player on the Washington health policy scene for nearly 25 years. As head of the lobbying group representing investor-owned hospitals, Kahn helped negotiate a deal in June among the hospital industry and the White House and the Senate Finance Committee.
As congressional legislation takes shape, most of the major health care players - hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies - are likely to benefit over the long term.
Obama and congressional leaders hope to reduce health care spending by promoting prevention to catch disease early. But some insurance and health officials say such efforts—although laudable—may not cut overall health costs.
Unions and advocates for low-income workers are criticizing a possible Senate Finance Committee move to drop an employer mandate in favor of a "free-rider" penalty. The provision would require companies to pay for part of the subsidies for uninsured workers to buy health insurance on the proposed exchanges. Business lobbyists say it's better than a straight mandate.
Powerful hospital trade associations are opposing President Obama's plan for an independent commission to determine how much Medicare pays doctors and hospitals. But certain "model" hospital systems - such as CHRISTUS Health - are breaking ranks and supporting the idea.
Public support for an overhaul the U.S. health care system has slipped somewhat, according to a new poll. But a majority of Americans still believe that "it is more important than ever to take on health care reform now."
Even as an overhaul of the nation's health care system gets bogged down in Congress, hospitals, doctors and administrators from around the country talk about how they have changed the way they operate to bolster health care in their home towns.
When talking about his vision for the U.S. health care system, President Barack Obama points to places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, which are known for providing high-quality, low-cost care.
Integrated health systems have won kudos for their performances from President Obama. But officials at the health systems say the health overhaul bills being debated in Congress don't reward them or encourage others to imitate them. They want lawmakers to move more aggressively to change the Medicare payment system to prod hospitals and doctors to provide better, less expensive care.