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A sustainable health care system

Posted: July 13, 2009 10:38 p.m.
Updated: July 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
A recent report from Anthem Blue Cross addressed the urgency of the health care crisis in today’s economy that calls for thoughtful, sustainable solutions.

As one of the state’s leading health benefits companies, Blue Cross believes that an essential ingredient for practical and sustainable health care reform is improving quality, which can help manage costs.

Blue Cross believes we are far from having a system that provides the right care at the right place at the right time.

Building on six principles, Anthem Blue Cross has identified solutions that will deliver better health care while helping to reduce costs:

- Promote evidence-based medicine; determine real-world outcomes

- Advance health care quality by disseminating information throughout the system

- Focus on prevention and manage chronic illness

- Improve effective use of drug therapies to prevent and manage illness

- Promote strategies to reduce medical errors and adverse drug events

- Reduce costs through eliminating fraud, reducing costs related to litigation, and improving administration.

Covering the uninsured

Blue Cross says enacting strategies to improve quality and control costs is essential to building a health care system that works for all Americans both now and in the future.

While Blue Cross believes improving quality and reducing costs is the key to a better system, they believe we must also get our country on a sustainable path to covering everyone.

Blue Cross believes heath insurers must make the health insurance market work more efficiently and effectively.

To do this, Blue Cross has identified ways to improve health insurance markets to better meet the needs of consumers:

- Ensure all Americans can access affordable coverage

- Create a vibrant health insurance marketplace that facilitates competition and consumer choice and encourages insurers to create innovative products that meet the needs of consumers.

Expanding coverage

With 82 percent of the uninsured having family incomes less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), even with strategies to improve quality and control costs, Blue Cross believes that financing must be part of any strategy to significantly expand coverage:

- Improve and expand programs for the most needy

- Provide a bridge to self-sufficiency through premium assistance

- Expand the employer-based system

- Equalize tax treatment for individuals purchasing coverage on their own

- Increase funding for public-private partnerships.

What this report is saying, is the health care system needs attention, government regulation to protect health care from those who take advantage of it, provide for those who cannot afford coverage, and competition for the insurance industry to keep the rates down and provide the best service and quality of care.

Jim Lentini, CLU, ChFC, IAR is president of Lentini Insurance & Investments, Inc. He can be reached at (661) 254-7633.

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