A glossary of words, phrases, and slogans to be uttered at the televised White House health summit.

How to fix health policy.
Feb. 26 2010 3:40 PM

Health Summit Cheat Sheet

A glossary of health reform words, phrases, and slogans.

Click here for a guide to following the health care reform story online.

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Fee for service. Paying physicians per procedure. This encourages physicians to maximize the number of procedures they perform, not all of which may be medically necessary. Health reform does almost nothing about this problem.

Foster, Richard. The chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A hero to liberals during the Bush administration because his boss, a political appointee, forbade him to reveal his cost estimate for expanding Medicare coverage to pharmaceuticals, he lately has been a hero to conservatives because he's more skeptical than Elmendorf that Congress can realize its planned Medicare cuts.

Free rider problem. If insurers are compelled to take all comers regardless of pre-existing conditions, that will encourage people not to purchase health insurance until they get sick. This is why all the Democrats' health reform proposals require everyone to purchase health insurance, and provide subsidies to help lower-income people purchase it. Republicans know this problem exists but choose to ignore it. (See "Individual mandate.")

French model. France's health care system, in which doctors, hospitals, and health insurers are all private, though heavily regulated and, in the case of insurers, nonprofit, is generally considered to be of very high quality. Consequently, it is seldom mentioned by opponents of health reform and often mentioned by its supporters.



Gang of Six. Senate finance committee members chosen by chairman Max Baucus to negotiate a bipartisan deal on health reform. They failed, and so Baucus put together his own bill, which cleared the finance committee with only one Republican vote. It was a Gang of Seven until Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, dropped out.

Gatorade. A special deal secured by Sen. Bill Nelson *, D.-Fla., shielding elderly Floridians already enrolled in the wasteful, privately managed Medicare Advantage program from benefit cuts planned under health reform. This is known as "grandfathering," and Gatorade is a rare instance in which it's done on behalf of actual grandfathers.

Grayson, Alan. A slightly unhingedDemocratic Florida representative who took to the House floor to recite the names of people in Republican congressional districts who died because they lacked health insurance. The GOP was not amused. He isn't invited to the Blair House meeting.

Gruber, Jonathan. An eminent MIT health economist, Gruber's reputation as a disinterested health reform referee was compromised in January when Politico revealed that he'd received $297,600 the previous June from the Health and Human Services department to assess various health reform proposals.