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Groups offer plan for health care

In broad strokes, several of the key groups who

have been at odds about the challenges facing

health care reform reached agreement last week

about what needs to happen.

Representatives of these groups – consumers,

insurers, doctors, employers – shared their views in

the Health Reform Dialogue, which was shared

with lawmakers and could serve as a catalyst for

much-needed national health care reform.

Admittedly, these groups avoided many of the

most volatile issues. But they did offer some

insight on others, such as:

Providing insurance coverage to the uninsured

through a mix of expanded government programs

and subsidies to purchase private health coverage.

Specifically, the plan calls for expanding the

Medicaid program to cover all adults earning up to

the poverty level, about $22,000 a year for a family

of four. Subsidies and tax credits would be offered

to help the middle class, although those were specified.

Creating savings by

making the health care

system less wasteful.

And urging prevention

become the foundation

for medical care.

And while the document

was thin on specifics

and details, specifically

in how the progams

would be funded, it does

offer a consensus and a

starting point.

More important, it continues

the national dialogue

about health care,

one that we all agree is

critically important.

While President

Obama has a full plate of

challenges at the

moment, from the economy to the war on terror to

getting a handle on his role, health care and social

justice issues continue to be at the top of his agenda.

Providing adequate care to Americans, without

bankrupting our country, is a goal we can all

embrace. The challenge will lie in making that happen.