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Rising State Health Plan Costs – Why we need national health reform

Adam Linker noted below the audit released at the State Health Plan meeting this morning that has state taxpayers picking up part of the tab for Blue Cross’ board retreat food (shrimp and caviar no doubt) and travel (private jets of course). There was more bad news at the meeting as well. Although no additional state money will be needed for the state health plan in the upcoming short session, over the next five years the plan will require $1.8 billion, yes billion, in additional funding because of rising health costs.

This is in addition to this year’s scheduled 8.9% premium increase and some of the highest possible cost-sharing this side of a catastrophic health plan.

Of course, private health plans are seeing even higher increases in many cases. We are hearing from people all over the state about premium increases of 20% or more in their small business and individual NC Blue Cross plans.

National health reform remains our only hope for starting to contain these out of control health costs. There’s no magic bullet, but the payment reforms, comparative effectiveness research, changes to make Medicare more efficient, and other ideas in the Senate bill now awaiting final action in Congress are our best hope. NC’s state health plan and people and businesses purchasing private insurance clearly can’t take another health reform failure – it’s just too expensive.

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