Plan changes are short sighted
Thursday, March 28, 2019
I read with interest and concern the column by Peter Robie, a member of the State Health Plan Board of Trustees, in the Daily Reflector on March 24 dealing with proposed rates cuts to the State Health Plan. While true that the cost of health care has continued to rise, the solution proposed by the state treasurer will not affect the underlying drivers of cost. Simply cutting the reimbursement to physicians and hospitals is a short-sighted mechanism which will limit access to care, force state employees to drive farther for care and limit the choices for our state employees.
Dr. Robie states that we don’t have the luxury to try “untested cost saving measures.” I respectfully disagree. Over several years, physicians have demonstrated their ability to control costs through value based arrangements and care management. The physicians with whom I work and the nearly 12,000 members I represent as president of the North Carolina Medical Society have proposed several tested solutions to the state treasurer. He has been unwilling to consider alternatives that have been successful in health insurance plans in both North Carolina and across the nation.
From my unique perspective as both a physician who cares for state employees in my practice and a state employee who is covered by the state health plan, I am confident that the proposed changes will negatively impact all state employees, particularly those of us in eastern North Carolina. A proposal in the legislature, House Bill 184, calls for study and developing more deliberate, sustainable solutions to improve the health of and contain costs for state employees. I encourage state employees to contact their legislators to support this bill.
Timothy Reeder, MD, MPH
The author is president of the North Carolina Medical Society