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BCBSA unveils five-point plan for expanded coverage


WASHINGTON The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has unveiled a new five-point plan for building on the employer-based system to improve quality, rein in cots and expand coverage to all Americans entitled, “The Pathway to Covering America.”

The plan lays out detailed recommendations to change the incentives in today’s delivery system to help assure high quality, affordable care and offers solutions to expand access to coverage.

Specifically, BCBSA’s five-point plan for comprehensive reform includes the following, as posted on its website:

  • Encourage Research on What Works. Today, an estimated 30 percent of healthcare spending goes toward care that is ineffective, redundant or inappropriate. America needs an independent institute to support research comparing the relative effectiveness of new and existing medical procedures, drugs, devices, and biologics.
  • Change Incentives to Promote Better Care. The incentives in our system must be changed to advance the best possible care instead of encouraging more services. Providers should be rewarded for delivering high-quality, coordinated care, especially for the increasing number of Americans with chronic illnesses.
  • Empower Consumers and Providers. Consumers and providers must have access to the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. This starts with information systems to manage personal health records. In addition, consumers need to know how much they are paying for their healthcare and what they are getting in return.
  • Promote Health & Wellness. The costs of treating chronic conditions are estimated to account for 75 percent of healthcare spending. As a nation, we must promote healthy lifestyles to help prevent chronic illness and work aggressively to help patients with chronic illnesses manage their own health.
  • Foster Public-Private Coverage Solutions. Coverage plans need to be tailored to capture the diversity of the uninsured population so that no one gets “squeezed out” by cost, “misses out” on available government assistance or “opts out” because they do not think they need health coverage.

According to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota president and chief executive officer Michael Unhjem, “To help advance this proposal, in 2008 BCBSA and its Member Plans will engage in a multi-pronged campaign—both nationally and in all 50 states—to inform consumers, small businesses, large employers, policymakers, presidential campaigns and others about the value of the employer-based system and our vision for improving healthcare.”

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