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June 26, 2017

Dear Friend:
Members of the Convergence Health Reform Roundtable published an op ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning which outlined key areas for possible bi-partisan agreement on health care. Timed to influence the health care debate in Congress, the op ed reflects the work of a group of eminent and diverse health care experts who have been meeting since March to develop widely supportable ideas for Congress and the Administration to consider as they deliberate on health care reform.
The by-line in the Wall Street Journal features Lanhee Chen, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and Ron Pollack, Former Founding Executive Director and Chair Emeritus of Families USA, but the piece reflects the views of eight individuals who are among the most respected thought leaders in health care in the country and who hold widely different points of view.  The attached press release includes all of their names and affiliations, although they have signed on as individuals.
Titled "Health-Reform Principles That Can Cross Party Lines," the op ed proposes the following:
  • Subsidies should be available to help those who need help to purchase adequate insurance. They should be structured to be as efficient as possible and should make affordable coverage a possibility for those who have limited financial means.
  • States should be given greater flexibility to coordinate and streamline coverage in programs that provide health care including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other publicly supported insurance so that families can obtain coverage that best serves their needs. At the same time, funds for health care services must not be diverted for other use and should be subject to real safeguards.
One of the op ed signers is Stuart Butler, a Convergence Board Member and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in health care policy.  In commenting on the op ed, he said:  "These days it's remarkable for people with this diversity of views on health care to join together in such a public statement.  But we have shown it can be done if there is trust and honest dialogue. We hope and intend that this op ed will have a substantive and constructive impact on the congressional health care debate.”
As the Roundtable continues to meet in the months ahead, we hope and expect it will generate new ideas that have the potential to transcend partisanship and lead to wise and durable improvements in the American health care system.

Robert J. Fersh
President and Founder

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