Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Transparency in health care reform bill


"Perhaps one reason why the massive health care reform legislation is in so much trouble is that few people understand the details. The bill is massive, complicated, packed with official government jargon and so many specifics were kicked forward to regulators at some future point (such as figuring out the real Medicare cost reductions or definitions of basic terms such as “quality”). On top of that, there was confusion about the nuts and bolts of what program was in, and what was out. Essentially it was a secret process, except when there were leaks over specific proposals.

The bill followed the time-honored way of legislating. A senator says, “yes” after the bill is sweetened. Then another senator is wooed. And another until a super majority is found and the bill itself is hardly identifiable. Political horse-trading is one of the reasons people are angry about health care reform (as well – and this is important – a genuine debate about the role of government). It looks unfair and unseemly.

But does it have to be that way in the 21st century? Can legislation or policy be forged in an open and transparent manner? This won’t resolve the debate about philosophy, but at least it allows people to have a say all through the process.

I think this is the way forward – and I’d like to see Congress, the Executive Branch and the Indian Health Service all have clear Social Media strategies that harness the power of an individual to help shape a larger mission."

Get the Story:
The new currency: Transparency (Mark Trahant 1/25)

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