Taking a bite out of health care costs – after Election Day

Rising health care costs are a concern for most Americans. And it’s especially true for senior citizens. With Election Day at our backs, however, the nation can again begin to address the issues that were seemingly put on hold while the candidates were on the campaign trail.
In an article published today on the Crain’s Chicago Business website, editor Andrew L. Wang opened up the discussion of what the future may have in store for health care affordability.
“Few expect major changes to the law’s fundamental pillars — the individual mandate, which requires most individuals to have health insurance, and the expansion of Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance program for the poor,” Wang explained. “But some in the health industry say access to care is only half the equation.”
The other half is, of course, the ever-growing bill that Wang described as one-fifth of the federal budget. To battle that, the hope is that more local initiatives will surface like those that are taking place at Illinois’ largest hospital operator, Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care.
“[The hospital] has been collaborating since 2010 with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois on an accountable care organization, or ACO,” Wang reported. “In July the system was chosen by the federal government to establish a Medicare ACO. ACOs are intended to allow the system to share in cost savings by improving patients’ health while holding it accountable for the quality of care.”
In addition to such initiatives, many in the health care industry believe that tort reform should be a major topic of discussion. In the article, Dr. Javette Orgain, a Chicago-based family doctor and vice speaker for the advocacy group, the American Academy of Family Physicians, was interviewed. She said that the fear of lawsuits leads some physicians to over-utilize medical services, which also drives up cost.
“Despite the president’s win, health reform will still be a point of contention in Washington,” Wang concluded. “Key parts of the law that require congressional approval for funding — such as establishing high-risk insurance pools and state health insurance exchanges — could be stalled. The president may have to reach across the aisle to ensure that the signature achievement of his first four years isn’t hobbled by congressional opposition.”
Regardless of what is to unfold, we here at Freedom Home Care encourage our readers, patients, family and friends to stay informed. To read the Crain’s article in its entirety, head here. And stay tuned to the FHC blog, where we promise to keep you abreast of the journey toward affordable, quality health care.