Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Health reform debate to continue for years


"Congress passed the health care reform legislation – and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was included – and now we can put this debate to rest. Right?

Actually no. There are many more debates about health care reform to come – probably for years – and much work remains before this law can be implemented.

“Opponents will continue, and probably intensify, their opposition. They have promised legal challenges and are likely to seek repeal of all or part of the legislation. Moreover, formidable implementation hurdles must be surmounted if health care reform is to achieve its goals,” Henry J. Aaron, Ph.D., and Robert D. Reischauer, Ph.D., recently wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine’s Health Care Reform Center blog. “On the political front, Republicans unanimously opposed the final bill in both the House and the Senate. They have expressed outrage at the Democratic leadership’s decision to “ram through” reform using budget reconciliation to modify the Senate-passed bill sufficiently to make it acceptable to the House. The outrage is baseless, but the fury is real and will poison future debate.”

On top of that fury there are thousands of pages of federal regulations – words that will define complicated ideas like “quality” in the legislation – that still must be written and debated in draft form, before they can be implemented. And, as I’ve written before, this bill is only authorizing legislation. The appropriations process is on a different track that requires congressional action before some of the new ideas can be implemented."

Get the Story:
The state of Navajo – sort of – and other health care experiments (Mark Trahant 4/12)

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