With high health care costs and the large number of uninsured, many Americans are ready for fundamental changes. Congress has already appropriated money for health information technology designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the current system. The harder task will be achieving consensus on the legislation moving forward that establishes a new public insurance plan, requires individuals to own insurance and mandates that businesses provide insurance for their employees.
On July 9, the Brookings Institution hosted an event to discuss the pros and cons of expanding the public plan, how to reduce costs while expanding coverage and the central role of information technology in health reform. Darrell West, Brookings vice president and director of Governance Studies and co-author of Digital Medicine: Health Care in the Internet Era (Brookings Institution Press, 2009), moderated the discussion with Geoffrey Garin, president of Peter Hart Research Associates; Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager of Health Care for America Now; John Linkous, CEO of American Telemedicine Association; and Scott Keefer, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.