The White House late Tuesday rejected key recommendations from the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group, a congressionally mandated, nonpartisan group that held town hall-type discussions across the country, as well as an Internet survey, to gauge the healthcare wants and needs of a broad slice of Americans.In written comments to Congress and to the group, administration officials said that "the working group chose an approach based on mandates and government intervention rather than an approach emphasizing consumer choice and options. In reviewing the working group’s report, we have major concerns with some of the recommendations." The final report, submitted to President Bush on Sept. 29, 2006, contained one overarching recommendation—healthcare coverage for all—and five other actions for achieving it. Those recommendations included: protection against catastrophic healthcare costs; the fostering of integrated community health networks; the establishment of a public-private commission to define America’s core health benefits and services; promotion of quality improvement initiatives; and a full-on restructuring of the way end-of-life services are financed and provided.
While administration officials said that they agree in principle with many of the group’s ideas, they nevertheless disagreed on how to achieve them.Richard Franks, vice chairman of the working group, told federal lawmakers this morning that he had not had time to review the administration’s long-awaited response, which was released Tuesday night.