William M Sage is Vice Provost for Health Affairs and James R. Dougherty Chair for Faculty Excellence at the University of Texas School of Law.
Lester Feder: What do you think are the most interesting aspects of the health reform legislation that we’re still trying to make sense of?
William Sage: Where should one start? I worked in the Clinton White House in early 1993, and can’t help but think about this reform effort in light of that one. I began teaching law a couple of years later, so my academic career tracks the intervening period of health policy, especially the rise and fall of managed care.
I think the legislation is very good about asserting its priorities. The law’s table of contents provides a nice road map: Title I says we’re going to reform private health insurance markets so that almost everyone is insurable at a reasonable price. Title II says we’re going to extend public programs for people who still can’t afford coverage, largely though Medicaid. Title III says we need to reform health care delivery, Title IV says we need to keep people healthier through public health and prevention, and Title V—which I think is absolutely essential—is about the workforce that will assure access, reduce the cost of services, and improve health. That’s a very good set of priorities that I completely agree with.
But tensions are also apparent. Read More