Expanding Access to Health Care in North Carolina

I noted last week that the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC found that from 2007 to 2009 North Carolina led the nation in the growth of the uninsured. (I believe that was the post where I referred to NCIOM Vice President Mark Holmes as a health policy guru.)

While the uninsured number grabbed headlines, a companion NCIOM report went largely unnoticed. It shouldn’t. You can find the lengthy set of recommendations at the NCIOM website.

One important finding is that North Carolina can’t cover everyone without taking actions to reduce health costs. The health access group proposes that they continue meeting to think up effective cost containment strategies for our state. This is a great suggestion. Policymakers desperately need a range of ideas for checking health costs.

The NCIOM also recommends getting more eligible children enrolled in Medicaid and NC Health Choice — a proposal seconded by Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget. Other proposals are difficult to implement during the current recession but provide a solid road map for reform including covering more low-income adults through Medicaid and creating a program to make it easier for small businesses to offer insurance coverage to employees.

I realize that not everyone is going to keep a set of health policy recommendations weighing in at more than 140 pages on the nightstand. But it should be required reading for every policymaker.

4 Comments

  1. Kimberly

    March 31, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Thanks for sharing this on your web site. The recommendations made would be a great step in the right direction and I am really hoping that the state agrees. I would also like to point out that the study group that came up with the recommendations was comprised of State Representatives, State Senators, medical professionals, insurance representatives, small business owners, health care advocates, and private citizens. It is fantastic that so many people from different fields and differing political backgrounds all came to agreement to produce these recommendations.

  2. Everybody In Nobody Out!

    March 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

    does the NCIOM report suggest changes in the way hospitals are paid? Global budgeting would eliminate some of the perverse incentives for overtreatment/unnecessary care inherent in fee-for-service reimbursement.

  3. Everybody In Nobody Out!

    March 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

    It would be interesting if you guys would report about the latest developments on how many NC hospital construction projects are on hiatus because of the economic collapse

  4. Ray Sobel

    April 3, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Is it not a shame that with excellent doctors and nurses with wondeful technology, we rank way down the list of industrialal nations when it comes to overall health care. And to add insult to injury, we pay more for our health care than any of the above mentioned nations..probably twice as much per capita. Even Cuba and Canada outrank us. .When drug companies and private health insurers put pressure on the legislators they collapse like a house of cards. I congratulate the congressional legislaator from Minnesota who refused his government health plan until eveyone in the nation had the same insurance. That’s a commitment !!!

    Ray Sobel
    Geenville