Massachusetts members of the Physicians for a National Health Program released a report today faulting the state’s experiment with health reform for failing to achieve universal coverage, being too expensive and draining funds away from safety-net providers.
The doctors’ punch line is that the reform has given private insurance companies more business and power without eliminating vast administrative waste. In fact, it says, the “Connector” in charge of administering the reform adds about 5 percent more in administrative expenses.
In summary, nothing less than single-payer national health reform will work, according to authors Drs. Rachel Nardin, David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, all professors at Harvard Medical School.
A little birdie contacted me leading me to wonder, what did the former CEO of Sutter Health Van Johnson do to get paid $5.6 million for working for a “part year” in 2006? (See page 100 of this PDF). It may go somewhat to explaining why a) Sutter is the most expensive hospital system in Northern California, and b) why the unions hate it so much! On the other hand we’re entitled to wonder when the web site says things like this :
Unlike investor-owned health care systems, Sutter Health is a not-for-profit organization. As such, any money left over after employees and bills have been paid is reinvested in health care.
On the other hand in 2005 Johnson didn’t make the top 5 list dominated by CEOs of individual Sutter hospitals all earning what typical hospital CEOs make—500K and up!) (page 59 here). Neither did current CEO Patrick Fry make the top 5 in 2007 (page 99 here). Perhaps the key is that they only pay the big boss after he quits?
Anyway, anyone who can elucidate please comment away.
After years of seeing decreasing numbers of uninsured children, California is poised to go the other direction.
For years, child enrollment in private health insurance plans decreased as companies scaled back on health care costs by increasing employees’ share of the premiums or by stopping dependent coverage altogether.
But those declines were offset by increased enrollment in public programs. Recognizing that half the uninsured children already qualified for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid), and Healthy families (the
state’s SCHIP program), school districts and advocates focused efforts on finding and enrolling those children.
But now, things aren’t looking so rosy. State and county budgets constraints threaten to erode the children’s enrollment gains in
Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and Healthy
Kids programs, county-organized health plans.
"Come next spring, you could have a double or triple whammy of kids
losing health coverage," said Joel Diringer, a consultant who helped
many California counties create the local programs.