Out of almost nowhere has come momentum for a proposal to create a bipartisan entitlement and tax commission to draft proposals to control the long-term costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The idea would require the Congress to quickly vote the recommendations up or down via a super majority vote.
The idea isn’t new–proposals for a such a commission have been around for a longtime.
What is new is the bipartisan enthusiasm that is growing–particularly in the Senate. Coming out of the Budget Committee, and Chairman Kent Conrad and Ranking Republican Judd Gregg, the idea is picking up bipartisan steam with, among others, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressing general support for the idea.
A number of Senators have threatened to tie their votes to raise the deficit ceiling to establishing such a commission.
If the recent Democratic health care bills have made one thing crystal clear it is that the Congress is wholly incapable of dealing with cost containment under present circumstances.
Robert Laszweski has been a fixture in Washington health policy circles for the better part of three decades. He currently serves as the president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates of Alexandria,
Virginia. Before forming HPSA in 1992, Robert served as the COO, Group Markets, for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. You can read more of his thoughtful analysis of healthcare industry trends at The Health Policy and Marketplace Blog, where this post first appeared.