Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’
Aug 26th, 2010 | by
Earlier this summer, our company hosted a retreat which included two national speakers– Dr. David M. Cutler and Thomas Dehner, JD. We invited these leading health care experts to meet with us because of their insights into health care reform, and the transformation that is currently taking place in this industry.
A little background on Dr. Cutler – he is a Harvard professor, and he served on the economic council during the Clinton years. More recently, he was senior health care advisor to President Obama. And, he is intimately involved in strategies around financing health care in our country. So his points of view were particularly eye-opening.
As the Massachusetts Medicaid director, Thomas Dehner led efforts related to the Medicaid components of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law. Now a principal with Health Management Associates, Inc., his viewpoints on lessons learned and future implications were also very enlightening.
There was a point in the presentation where Dr. Cutler gauged the difficulty for the health care industry to convert. He proclaimed the following:
- Insurance reform is easy
- Coverage expansion is more difficult (he called it Medium)
- Improving the value of care is the most difficult (or Hard)
It was an interesting assessment, and it sparked a lot of conversation.
Insurance Reform is Easy
First off, none of what needs to happen within the health care system is easy to change. But what makes insurance reform “easier” than transforming other aspects of the health care system is because insurance reform relies heavily on policy and laws. The introduction of federal policy allowing parents to keep their children on their health plan until age 26 is a perfect example of how policy can quickly affect immediate change.
Coverage Expansion is Medium
Expanding health coverage to more Americans is certainly a more difficult goal to achieve. Two reasons expansion is harder:
- The exchange could create a mass rush to the health care “storefront”. People who have not had access to health care will now be eligible, and that may empower a lot of people to act. How will our system react?
- At the same time, it’s also difficult to get people to enroll. Dehner said this is “a close-to-impossible job” despite the federal dollars set aside for outreach. Communication and promotion will be the key to educating the public about the availability to get coverage. But even with substantial outreach, there will be plenty of people that are eligible for public health care programs and subsidies, but just won’t know it or don’t recognize ongoing health coverage as a priority. So finding these people and getting them into the system presents a challenge.
Improving the Value of Care is Hard
This is by far the most difficult area to transform—but not impossible. All players within the health care arena are being pressured to find ways to reduce cost while increasing quality…and that can sometimes appear to be an oxymoron. But we are already seeing solutions that will help move this goal along:
The more we integrate technology into the health care system – and that includes technology that provides information, not just devices – the better coordinated the system will be, and the better doctors will be at providing the right kind of care at the right time and place.
- Case Management/Coordination
What case management and health care coordination does is put prevention and wellness at the center of caring for patients. By integrating case managers more into the system, patients, providers and insurance companies can be held more accountable, helping increase quality of care. Also, case management ensures that patients are using the health care system responsibly, and that lowers cost.
- Streamlining Administrative Duties
It’s estimated that highly trained registered nurses spend one-third of their time charting patient status and there are more administrative personnel on staff than nurses. That’s a lot of resources being devoted to what could be considered “lost productivity.” The industry needs to continue pursuing automation and streamlining this aspect of the business-side of health care.
Hard, Harder, Hardest – But Worth the Pursuit
There are many challenges ahead for this industry. But so much progress has already been made in a very short time. As long as the players within the health care industry continue to collaborate, we will reach our goal. And once we’ve reached our destination as an industry, we’ll look back and understand that the pursuit was worth it. Because we’ll all eventually benefit from the transformation of health care.
What do you think are the hardest aspects of health care reform to further implement?
Article TagsBill Clinton • Boston • Care Coordination • Case Management • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Medicaid Program • Dr. David M. Cutler • Expanded Health Care • Harvard • health care exchange • health care reform • Health IT • Health Management Associates • Inc. • insurance reform • Massachusetts • MassHealth • Medicaid • michigan medicaid • Ohio medicaid • ohio medicaid eligibility • President Obama • Thomas Dehner
Aug 12th, 2010 | by
On behalf of the 844,000 Medicaid consumers we serve, we thank you, Congress, for extending $16 billion in enhanced Medicaid funding to assist states who are experiencing the worst budget shortfalls in history. Our government did what’s right and necessary for people who are desperate for help today.
Nearly 3.3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid in June 2009 when compared to June 2008 (based on Kaiser Commission on Medicaid) and states are financially strapped – three-fifths of them have expressed a critical need for assistance with its Medicaid programs. Plus, many families continue to feel the burden of the Great Recession as demonstrated by the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.7% (June 2010). It is our obligation as a country that believes in providing opportunity for all to take care of those that need help. And that’s what Congress did this week by a vote of 247 to 161.
Again, thank you, Congress for leading our nation out of the Great Recession.
Jul 22nd, 2010 | by
Dear President Obama,
Thank you…thank you for the release of the Patient’s Bill of Rights. This public proclamation that describes how patients will be protected by the rising costs and complexities of the health care system is exactly what this country needs. It is fundamentally consistent with the philosophies of our nation. The Patient’s Bill of Rights builds a foundation that allows opportunities to exist, opportunities open to all, and most notably our country’s underserved population.
Underserved people continue to suffer in our country. And one of the most profound challenges to this demographic is having the forum to voice opinion. Underserved communities struggle to be heard…struggle to tell their stories…struggle to instill empathy in those most able to be helpful.
The Patient’s Bill of Rights gives the underserved a voice. It protects them from elements that have been traditionally uncontrollable. It protects our children, it protects those with pre-existing conditions, and it protects women. But most importantly, it protects the integrity of our country and the goodwill we extend to our citizenship.
So thank you, Mr. President, for embracing our country’s underserved, and moving hope to what is tangible. And we’re happy to answer your request and spread the word about the new Patient Bill of Rights.
The Patient’s Bill of Rights
“Starting in September, some of the worst abuses will be banned forever. No more discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. No more retroactively dropping somebody’s policy when they get sick if they made an unintentional mistake on an application. No more lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on coverage. Those days are over.” – PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
President Obama announced a Patient’s Bill of Rights made possible under health reform—a basic set of consumer protections.
The Patient’s Bill of Rights:
- Prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick. Right now, insurance companies can retroactively cancel your policy when you become sick if you or your employer made an unintentional mistake on your paperwork.
- Stops insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in September, discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions will be banned—a protection that will be extended to all Americans in 2014.
- Prohibits setting lifetime limits on insurance policies issued or renewed after Sept. 23, 2010. No longer will insurance companies be able to take away coverage at the very moment when patients need it most. More than 100 million Americans have health coverage that imposes lifetime limits on care.
- Phases out annual dollar limits on coverage over the next three years. Even more aggressive than lifetime limits are annual dollar limits on what an insurance company will pay for your health care. For the people with medical costs that hit these limits, the consequences can be devastating.
- Allows you to designate any available participating primary care doctor as your provider. You’ll be able to keep the primary care doctor or pediatrician you choose, and see an OB-GYN without referral.
- Removes insurance company barriers to receiving emergency care and prevents them from charging you more because you’re out of network. You’ll be able to get emergency care at a hospital outside of your plan’s network without facing higher co-pays or deductibles or having to fight to get approval first.
Feb 24th, 2010 | by
So there are some Democrats threatening to use reconciliation to get a health care plan passed (CNN article). Well, first things first. Let’s get through the President’s summit and see how it goes. Who knows what surprises may be in store? They may actually be “welcomed” surprises for a change.
This entire debate has been one surprise after another. As a result of this summit, we may actually see a few members of the minority party decide that the President’s plan (albeit not perfect) is currently the best option we have given the times. What do the Dems have to lose? Reconciliation should be used as a last resort and quite frankly, that is exactly what they seem to be doing. All we ask is – just do something – and do it soon – and don’t make it a band-aid approach.
So much debate and finger pointing and arguing and going back to the table threatens to completely dilute any meaningful reform. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans have said that reform is what they want and what America needs. Meanwhile, another $25-billion in Medicaid relief has been included in the President’s budget proposal to states that are seeing current enrollment numbers rise due to our economic environment.
The President’s plan has some really good aspects that will change the course of the health care system today and we finally have the momentum to actually make the health of our nation better. Why stop now?
Why stop when it includes a meaningful expansion of Medicaid so that our most vulnerable citizens can get the monetary relief and care they need to stay healthy? Why impede the development of an insurance exchange to make it easier for Americans to purchase health care? Why prevent important insurance reforms from taking place? Why dilute a requirement that says all of us have to buy coverage to ensure the health care system will be there when we need it and not bankrupt the nation in the process? And why in the world would we want to encumber a real focus on managing high-cost chronically ill populations?
All of these things that make a lot of sense are included in the President’s plan, and can be passed with or without reconciliation.
It will be interesting to see what plays out with the President’s health care summit. Perhaps some consensus can be met that may not address everything, but will at least garner enough votes to put something meaningful in place that we can build upon over the next decade.
A couple question to our readers – Do you think imposing reconciliation is the right way to go? Do you think the President’s health care summit will prove productive?