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Ex-Lawmakers Spar at AHIP Conference

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 17, 2011

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) says that one way or the other "we will have a coverage mandate" as part of health insurance reform in America. "Either every individual will be required to take responsibility for their healthcare or the rest of us – who do take care of ourselves – will continue to be required to pay for those who don't."

He made the remark Thursday during a session about building a sustainable healthcare system at the annual conference for America's Health Insurance Plans in San Francisco. Daschle shared the stage with former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).

The two made separate presentations and then settled in for a Q&A from the audience of insurance professionals.


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Daschle focused on the upside of healthcare reform noting the "transformational opportunities" presented for innovation and collaboration especially in the areas of payment reform and transparency. "We have 21st century operating rooms and 19th century administration" in the healthcare industry, he said. Daschle credited government reforms with helping kickstart administrative changes that will speed the adoption of technology to enable providers and payers to collect information that can be used to improve care and engage the patient at meaningful levels.

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