Congressman Jim Matheson joined fellow Blue Dogs in a meeting at the White House to outline some of the substantial changes required before he could vote for a health care reform bill that has been introduced in the House. Matheson is a member of the Health subcommittee, as well as a member of the Blue Dog Health Care Task Force.
"I want to vote for a bipartisan health care reform bill that gets skyrocketing health care costs under control. That requires us to fundamentally alter the incentives in our system to reward high quality, efficient health care. To preserve what's best about our system, we have to fix what is broken," said Matheson. "Efforts this week are the first time we will dive into the nitty-gritty details and try to make the necessary changes that will get us across that goal line."
Matheson said the Blue Dog list is the result of months of study and discussion by the Blue Dog Coalition and others. He said the suggested changes represent what will be a common-sense, bipartisan proposal that shares many of the features under review by the U.S. Senate in their committee negotiations.
The 10 changes presented Monday to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman are:
Provide affordability credits on a sliding scale from 100-300% of the federal poverty level
Adjust the value and cost of subsidy levels
Public option must negotiate rates with providers, provide greater clarity on opt-out, compete on a level playing field and be available only as a fallback
Establish consumer-driven, state-based co-ops
Create state-based exchanges with a federal fallback
Maintain current state-federal partnership with Medicaid, while implementing reforms that increase its value and effectiveness
Realign incentives to reward high quality, efficient health care; include value-based purchasing, value index, innovation center for Medicare and Medicaid and other delivery system reforms
Increase small business exemption and adjust for inflation
Address end-of-life care
Effectively bend the cost curve, per the Congressional Budget Office
Beyond this list, Matheson said he has a number of additional ideas for reform that he will offer in committee. He has additional concerns about how health care reform will be paid for and he repeated his belief that whatever is adopted not increase the federal deficit.