The US Senate Finance Committee just released an outline of what it sees as some of the issues around making coverage more affordable in any health reform plan. Generally it looks like a move in the right direction as is clear from this opening language:
A high-performing health system would guarantee all Americans affordable, quality coverage regardless of age, health status, or medical history. This document outlines policy options for providing affordable health care coverage for all Americans.
However, the respected Georgetown Center for Children and Families sees a potential problem for North Carolina in its summary of the Senate proposal. States could be required to deliver care for kids (Health Choice in NC) and Medicaid through private insurers participating in a public health insurance exchange. This requirement would not allow North Carolina to operate its successful Community Care medical home system that now delivers excellent health care to kids and families. NC’s medical home program assigns families a long-term family doctor and practice and helps physician practices deal with patient issues. It also lowers costs by helping medical practices compare their use of medical technology and services with each other to indentify places where overuse of care might be taking place.
Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr need to press the case to Senate Finance Committee members that North Carolina’s medical home program is something that other states should be encouraged to implement – and not something that federal government action should take away. Senators Hagan and Burr are not on the Senate Finance Committee – but they are on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) which is also considering health care issues. They need to act quickly however.