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June 01, 2005

Think Tanks: Solving Problems?

Lehrer_brainThis is the one of the topics of Brian Lehrer's radio broadcast today on WNYC.

Washington think tanks are better known for producing partisan position papers than for palliating problems. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, find out about how liberal and conservative groups are getting together to solve America’s healthcare crisis.

While the term "healthcare crisis" has become a cliche, there is a growing trend towards bipartisan cooperation in coming up with strategies to address unavailability of healthcare insurance, rising drug prices, medical errors and a  the development of a nationwide electronic patient record. Even Newt is appearing on the same stage with Hillary in order to seek common ground.

WinningthefutureI had a chance to read the sections of Newt's new book, "Winning the Future," pertinent to heathcare, and I'm mostly in agreement with his initiatives to develop information sharing via the Web.

Just as we're now seeing the bipartisan support of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, this will extend to healthcare in general.

:Update - Brian is referencing this article from last Sunday's NYTimes, "Health Leaders Seek Consensus Over Uninsured."

At a time when Congress has been torn by partisan battles, 24 ideologically disparate leaders representing the health care industry, corporations and unions, and conservative and liberal groups have been meeting secretly for months to seek a consensus on proposals to provide coverage for the growing number of people with no health insurance.      

The participants, ranging from the liberal Families USA to the conservative Heritage Foundation and the United States Chamber of Commerce, said they had made progress in trying to overcome the ideological impasse that has stymied action on the problem for eight years....

The group also includes top executives from AARP, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Johnson & Johnson, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, Pfizer and the Service Employees International Union.

This article says that these groups are meeting in secret. How much of a surprise will their final plan elicit?

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