9-11-09 Feature Story:
Staff from Upham's Corner Health Center, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers President & CEO James W. Hunt, Jr., EOHHS Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby and Massachusetts Medical Society President-elect Dr. Alice Coombs were featured Friday, Sept. 11 on WBUR's Radio Boston program. The segment focused on the cost containment and patient access challenges associated with health reform efforts, and pointed to community health centers as a solution for both.
On WBUR's Radio Boston: Can We Afford Health Reform?
As focus in the country is on Washington and the debate over President Obama's plan to expand health coverage in the nation, we here in Massachusetts have already achieved near universal healthcare. More than 97 percent of the Bay State's residents now have some form of health insurance, but the cost of the plan¬†has been rising.¬†Health Centers around the state are seeing budgets being squeezed, as they treat more and more people in the state, but proponents of health reform say eventually the increased level of preventative care, will result in costs dropping, because the use of more expensive urgent care and hospitalization will go down.¬†
Add to that,¬†new recommendations from¬†a¬† special healthcare payment reform commission which would change¬†the way doctors and hospitals make money.¬†Instead of being paid a fee for each service, the commission plan would pay health care providers a flat fee for each patient in their network, for a year of coverage.¬† It's a¬†radical change, and its proponents say it will improve patient's health, cut down on unnecessary tests, and reduce costs.¬† Critics say it's another step on the way to rationed care. What do you think?