Health care: A prairie vision

  • Article by: JILL BURCUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 2, 2012 - 3:02 PM

By administering Medicaid at a local level, an initiative in southwestern Minnesota hopes to save money and improve care. It could well be a pioneering model.

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goferfanzSep. 1, 12 8:39 PM

"""Questions remain about how the patient care spending targets will be set, providers' readiness for financial risk, what role the managed-care plans will have and how the information technology will be paid for."""..... Those are some mighty big questions, especially once providers have to eat the overages. Then, high consuming patients are viewed as "lemons," and no provider or system wants to care for them. It's already occurring on a large scale with the diabetic/vascular/depression patients who arent meeting the community measure goals. Ask them about trying to find "welcoming" providers, especially when "employee doctors" face job termination if their Community Measure scores are lacking. It's not pretty right now in the MN primary care world, as the sickest of patients struggle to find doctors due to doctor employment pressures. Who saw this coming 20 years ago?

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birchtreeSep. 2, 12 7:09 AM

The answer to better, more affordable health care at all levels is to bypass insurance companies and go directly to providers. The providers aren't currently making outrageous amounts for the care they provide. It is the insurance companies and their executives that are jacking up prices and making obscene amounts. The job of the providers is to provide actual health care. The job of the insurance companies (how they make money) is by not providing health care while, at the same time, collecting premiums. I pay thousands of dollars a year, year after year, in health insurance premiums, yet rarely receive any actual health care because my deductible is still so high I just don't go to the doctor. The government isn't going to fix this because politicians are in the pockets of insurance companies. Patients need to band together and make arrangements directly with providers.

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pumiceSep. 2, 12 8:37 AM

Re: "Patients need to band together and make arrangements directly with providers." Like Medicare, but rugged individuals negotiating instead of everyone in the nation collectively???

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beebee82Sep. 2, 12 8:39 AM

So instead of a patchwork of rules state-by-state, we would have a hodge podge of requirements county-by-county? Blue counties versus red counties? It sounds intriguing, but my guess is we'd have some counties attracting seniors by the droves because they're getting it right while others will fail to serve those within their borders and seniors stuck there will simply languish.

It always sounds like a great idea, but when was the last time government bureaucracies actually built a universal system based on best practices? We can't even get our best school district's practices made into universal guidelines, even though we've had about 20 programs attempting it for decades.

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davehougSep. 2, 12 1:56 PM

Taking care of both the poor's health, social services, and preventive care will hopefully keep them out of the emergency room and require less total care since it is delivered sooner than later. Worth a try.

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davehougSep. 2, 12 2:01 PM

The job of the insurance companies (how they make money) is by not providing health care while, at the same time, collecting premiums. - - Take a look at large national companies that set their own policies. The insurance companies simply pay bills according to the rules of each company and send a single bill each month to the company. NO risk assumption & no savings for saying no. It is STILL expensive even when many insurance companies compete to bundle provider bills.

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pumiceSep. 2, 12 4:39 PM

Re: "[Healthcare insurance] is STILL expensive even when many insurance companies compete to bundle provider bills." Gee. I wonder how that problem could be fixed....

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merkinSep. 5, 12 9:31 PM

Universal single payer health care is the only way to go. Anything less than that is spitting in the wind.

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