I will be on CNBC’s Street Signs this afternoon at 2 PM EDT. Governor Howard Dean and I will be discussing health care reform with host Erin Burnett.

Update: We’ve got video.

Wednesday the President spoke in the Rose Garden about health care reform. He said:



[nurses] understand that this is a problem that we can no longer defer. We can’t kick the can down the road any longer. Deferring reform is nothing more than defending the status quo — and those who would oppose our efforts should take a hard look at just what it is that they’re defending. Over the last decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are skyrocketing. And every single day we wait to act, thousands of Americans lose their insurance, some turning to nurses in emergency rooms as their only recourse.

So make no mistake, the status quo on health care is not an option for the United States of America. It’s threatening the financial stability of families, of businesses, and of government. It’s unsustainable, and it has to change.

I agree with all of this, except “those who oppose our efforts should take a hard look at just what it is that they’re defending.”

I strongly oppose the House tri-committee bill and the Kennedy-Dodd HELP committee bill. I do not support the status quo. I want different and even more aggressive reform than is being proposed in Congress. It is unfair to characterize those who oppose the current legislation as opposing all health care reform, or as defenders of the status quo.

I therefore want to be explicit about what I support. I propose Congress adopt the following plan instead of the legislation they are now considering.

A full description of a health care reform bill would probably take a few thousand words. Today I instead offer just the basic description of what I propose. This is not as polished or detailed as I would like, but it’s the core, and I would like to get it out there before our CNBC discussion today. I am going to label this v1. I may tweak it a bit over time, but the core will not change. If you follow the health care debate closely, many parts of this will look familiar. I may flesh out details in the future.

This should be a debate among alternatives, not “Are you for health care reform or the status quo?”

Keith Hennessey’s health care reform plan (v1)


  1. Replace the tax exclusion for employer provided health insurance with a $7500 (single) / $15K (family) flat deduction for buying health insurance.
  2. Allow the purchase of health insurance sold anywhere in the U.S.
  3. Make health insurance portable
  4. Expand Health Savings Accounts
  5. Aggressively reform medical liability
  6. Aggressively slow Medicare and Medicaid spending growth, and use the savings for long-term deficit reduction


  1. Raise taxes
  2. Create a new government health entitlement
  3. Mandate the purchase of health insurance
  4. Have government set private premiums
  5. Create a government-run health plan option
  6. Have the government mandate benefits
  7. Expand Medicaid


  • Lower premiums, higher wages
  • Portable health insurance reduces “job lock”
  • +5 million insured (net)
  • 100 million people will pay lower taxes
  • 30m with expensive health plans pay higher taxes
  • No net tax increase overall
  • Reduces short-term and long-term deficit
  • Fair to small business employees & self-employed
  • Incentives and individual decisions “bend the cost curve down”
  • More individual control & responsibility for medical decisions

(photo credit: Burnett: CNBC, Dean: Wikipedia)