WASHINGTON, DC: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell today announced the launch of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Leaders’ Project on the State of American Health Care. The Leaders’ Project is an unprecedented effort that will produce politically viable policy recommendations to address the delivery, cost, coverage, and financing challenges facing the nation’s health care system. “All four of us have seen many legislative battles over health care in our careers. The time has come to put aside partisanship and put forward solutions,” said Senator Dole.
The four Leaders will direct the project with guidance from Chris Jennings, President of Jennings Policy Strategies, Inc. and former Senior Health Care Advisor to President William J. Clinton, and Dr. Mark McClellan, Senior Fellow and Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Leonard D. Schaeffer Director’s Chair in Health Policy at the Brookings Institution, and former Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush.
“There is no doubt that concern about health care issues is top-of-mind for families and individuals across the country,” added Senator Mitchell. “I believe now is the right time for this issue to finally be resolved. We must galvanize bipartisan support for improving our nation’s health care system.”
The project is centered on a series of forums that will take place throughout 2008, each hosted by one of the four Leaders. These events will address four key topics, or “pillars,” of health care reform: preserving and improving quality and value of care; providing affordable, accessible coverage choices in a reformed insurance market; ensuring and promoting a strong individual role in health care coverage and costs; and securing a workable financing mechanism for health care.
“Everyone has a duty to care for their individual health, and it is our nation’s duty to provide a system of care so everyone is protected,” said Baker. “We need meaningful change in our national health care system. For reform to take place, we must find innovative, common ground solutions.”
The first phase of the Leaders’ Project will culminate with the release of a report to the public, the Congress, and the Administration that will include solution-driven recommendations for reforming health care coverage and delivery in America. The second, and equally as crucial, phase of the project will involve the Leaders advocating their recommendations to key decision makers.
“We need to move beyond ideology and partisanship and meet our common health care system challenges with common sense answers to provide affordable, quality, health care to everyone in this great nation. We have no more time to waste,” said Daschle.
The Leaders’ Project is honored to have the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). RWJF is working to ensure that all Americans have stable, affordable health care coverage and that the care delivered is of high quality and value. “The quest for meaningful health care reform has vexed Congress and presidential administrations for decades,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of RWJF. “Without bipartisan efforts, reform will be impossible.
We look to the former Senate Majority Leaders to show us that bipartisan collaboration and compromise is possible, and that we can meet the demands of the American people and chart a path to reform that will result in coverage and high quality health care for all.”
Additional technical analysis in support of the project will be conducted by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, as well as other policy organizations.
The first of the Leaders’ Project policy forums will be held on April 24, 2008, in Washington, DC. The event will be chaired by Senator Daschle and will focus on improving the quality and value of health care.