Health Summit Cheat Sheet
A glossary of health reform words, phrases, and slogans.
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Cadillac tax. A 40 percent excise tax on family health insurance policies valued above $27,500. The tax is unpopular, especially with unions, and has been watered down repeatedly. Many Washington establishment types, including David Brooks, view this as a terrible moral failure, but that is incorrect. In fact, it's a poorly designed tax based on the mistaken theory that excessive generosity is what makes health insurance expensive.
Cao, Joseph. The only House Republican (he's from Louisiana) to vote in favor of health reform. Cao is now one of a dozen House members threatening to switch their votes from "yea" to "nay" over the abortion issue. He is not invited to the Blair House meeting.
Capitation. Paying doctors a fixed rate per patient rather than paying them for individual medical procedures. (See "Fee for service.")
CHIP (aka, S-CHIP). A state-federal government health insurance program for children. The House bill would eliminate the program and move recipients into the newly established exchanges, but the Senate and President Obama decided to leave well enough alone.
CLASS Act. A little-known provision in the health reform bills, the CLASS Act is a new voluntary and self-financed government health insurance program, spearheaded by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, that would cover nursing-home and other long-term care.
CMS. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Formerly known as HCFA (short for Health Care Financing Administration and pronounced "Hikva," which to me always sounded like the name of Tevye's sixth daughter), these are the folks who run Medicare and Medicaid.
Coburn, Tom. A Republican senator from Oklahoma, he is the meanest and craziest opponent of health care reform. And guess what! He's an M.D.!
Collaborative care. When doctors and hospitals band together, typically to serve low-income or rural patients. The health reform bill would give them some funding.
Community rating. Everybody pays the same for health insurance, regardless of how healthy they are. The health reform bills don't establish pure community rating, but they limit variations in pricing (based mainly on age).
Cost-shifting. A practice in which hospitals overcharge private health insurers to make up for lower fees paid by government health insurance programs like Medicare. It happens, but not nearly as much as opponents of health reform say.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.
Photograph of President Obama by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.