"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Medicaid expansion is unquestionably helping Granite Staters"

Union Leader February 26th 2015
Medicaid expansion is unquestionably helping Granite Staters By STEVE AHNEN and HENRY LIPMAN
 ADOPTION LAST YEAR of the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan (NHHPP), a bipartisan, common-sense approach to extending private health insurance coverage to more low-income uninsured residents in New Hampshire, was the right thing to do for many reasons.Already, more than 34,000 Granite Staters now have access to the type of ongoing primary and preventive care that we know is so vitally important to improving the health of individuals. But perhaps most important, NHHPP, or expanded Medicaid, made financial sense to help end the hidden tax on businesses and those with private insurance who have been paying for the care of those without insurance through higher health insurance premiums.As many noted during the debate over Senate Bill 413 last year, that hidden tax amounted to more than $425 million in care that is provided to those without insurance. The NHHPP will ensure that those who are covered are able to get care at a primary care clinic or doctor’s office, manage their chronic conditions and be healthier. It is much more cost-effective to provide primary care than it is to treat someone’s condition after it has become a crisis. This is an important step on the road to health care reform that is transforming health care in New Hampshire.So, the question many will, and should, ask as the debate over reauthorization of the NHHPP goes on is: “Is it working?”While we are only a few months into the implementation of the NHHPP, the answer is an overwhelming “yes.” The data we are beginning to see on the impact that the expanded coverage through the NHHPP and plans available on the health insurance marketplace in New Hampshire shows that the number of people coming to the emergency room without insurance is going down.As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to the end of the fourth quarter of 2013, hospitals across New Hampshire saw a 17 percent reduction in the number of people who were treated in the emergency department who did not have insurance. We are also seeing reductions in the number of patients being treated in the inpatient and outpatient departments as well. We will continue to monitor these trends, but we expect that number will grow as more people become eligible for the program.That’s great news for patients, the health care system and for those who believed the NHHPP would begin to address the hidden tax we all pay when too many of our friends and neighbors don’t have health insurance but end up getting care in a crisis, often in one of the most expensive settings — the hospital emergency room.It means that those who have not had insurance are now able to get the ongoing primary and preventive care that will help them become and stay healthy. It means that New Hampshire’s private health insurance market will continue to grow, offering more choices and better competition among plans. It means that we will be able to lower the cost of health care across the system.And it means we will be able to provide greater stability and predictability for businesses and the state budget as the cost of health care moderates over time.To bend the cost curve in health care, we have to move aggressively to make sure patients are able to get the right care, at the right time, in the right place. Extending coverage to more low-income, uninsured residents in New Hampshire is a big part of that effort.The NHHPP is an important and wise investment in the health and future of the Granite State and we encourage the Legislature, governor and stakeholders across New Hampshire to work together to reauthorize the program so that we can continue to build upon the successes that are beginning to take root.Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA). Henry Lipman is chairman of the NHHA Board of Trustees and senior vice president, financial strategies & external relations, at LRGHeatlhcare in Laconia. 

1 comment:

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Often wondered ... why is medical insurance the question ... not cost of care?

Is the real problem lack of insurance ... or medical costs?

Is it lawyers suing for patients, greed, all kinds of unnecessary tests, malpractice insurance?

Is government so unconscionable, as to not provide health care for its citizens, while demanding taxes? Can Congress actually come up with a universal health care plan that is fair, and takes care of all of its citizens?

Some of us pray, it is so (not a religious statement).

The "American people" ... how many times have we heard that quip, from our politicians, all parties.

It takes at least a billion (with a "b") dollars to get a presidential candidate ... even if they don't get elected! What if that kind of money, and mindset, was spent taking care of our "American people"!

Eyes should be on a SCOTUS case that will be heard Wednesday, tomorrow. I've included some URLs for background. I think some articles mention that the issue will be decided tomorrow. Not true. Arguments tomorrow, ruling probably in June.

Those of you that complain about URLs ... do yourself a favor and get off Internet Explorer and start using a browser that doesn't require "copy and paste". I prefer Mozilla Firefox. There are others. Need help ... go see Don at the Town Library and he'll help you.

To you folks that condescendingly ask others if they are lawyers ... do you actually mean attorneys?

There's a cure for ignorance, but not stupidity! Take heed!