Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Massachusetts Health Care: The Country is Watching

James Roosevelt, Jr., is a man who knows health care fairly well. He is President and CEO of the Tufts Health Plan, and when not engaged with that, he acts as the chairman for the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans. Roosevelt was kind enough to share his opinion of the current state of health care affairs in Massachusetts with Boston's WBUR 90.9 recently:

When the topic turns to access to health care, we should prepare ourselves to hear Massachusetts’ efforts for health care reform referenced as either visionary or as a cautionary tale of misguided public policy. While I continue to be unwavering in my support of health care reform, the true answer on its success is really yet to come.

In order to succeed, what we must do next is grapple with health care costs in a manner that hasn’t been done before. Massachusetts is the perfect laboratory in which to create real change.
He exhorts the provider community, the Commonwealth's Quality and Cost Council, and many other groups to come together in an effort to "leverage their common goals for the greater good."

He also speaks highly of the efforts of Senate President Therese Murray for taking decisive action in that regard. Her focus on funding electronic medical records and pledge of $25 million per year to implement them is only the beginning. He applauds her efforts to bring transparency to both providers of health care and insurance in order to identify the segments of health care that truly drive cost increases.

Using wellness programs enacted in the Tufts Health plan as illustrations he calls for individuals to take a more active role in their own health. Wellness programs are an important factor, he states, in reducing overall health care costs.

While many of these points are familiar to readers of this blog and to those who have been following the health care debate, Roosevelt presents them as part of a clarion call to the citizens of Massachusetts. After all, as he correctly states it, "The country is watching."

photo courtesy of altemark, used under this Creative Commons license

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