Health care

Health care

Insurance premiums and healthcare cost are on an unsustainable trajectory. This is true in the private market and in our public health systems (Medicaid and CHIP from a State Government perspective). Fortunately Utah has been ahead of the curve on health care reform and already has a health insurance exchange in operation (exchange.utah.gov)—something other states are just putting into place as a requirement of the federal Affordable Care Act. The exchange should make it easier to pool health care dollars and comparison-shop insurance products. The ability to comparison-shop for cost AND outcomes will make all of us better stewards of our health care dollars.

In addition to the reforms already in place, the Legislature has a Health System Reform Task Force that has been meeting for the past few years recommending changes to: Medicaid, private insurance regulations, information sharing by health care providers and other cost saving ideas.

I’m interested in legislation that helps keep health care costs low and makes the system more efficient, but I’m very cautious about the State assuming any additional health care costs in our public health programs. Our state funding is finite and we have to pick priorities. Medicaid costs are projected to exceed spending on public education in the next decade. Health care is an important area of funding and policy, but it will gobble up all of our funding if we don’t build some strong fiscal fences to reign in costs. Our public health programs such as Medicaid and CHIP are intended to be temporary safety net programs, not permanent insurance options.

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