And I only mean that with half of the sarcasm that the headline may express.
I pretend to be an expert on many things. One area that I do not attempt this is our bizarre and complex system of health care and its funding. While our country still manages to deliver the world standard for medicine, the way we do so, and more specifically, the way we fund it, appears to be overly complex, bureaucratic, and inefficient.
I’ve been warning for years that if Republicans don’t come up with some kind of market based reform of the system, we would ultimately accept the reforms the democrats give us. At the national level, we’re probably on the verge of that.
But at the state level, Republicans are still in charge. And the man most in charge, Governor Perdue, has apparently decided that the best way to generate the additional money hospitals need for a statewide trauma network is to tax the hospitals themselves.
Perdue has proposed a 1.6 percent fee on hospital revenues and health insurance plans to fill the state’s $208 million hole in Medicaid this year, and to provide $60 million toward a statewide trauma network.
Perdue told legislators he knew his plan would “not be universally acclaimed,” but said the federal government, “in its infinite wisdom,” created the problem. New federal law going into effect later this year would require the state to charge private insurance companies the same fee it charges the HMOs that serve the state’s Medicaid and PeachCare populations. Georgia charges its Medicaid HMOs a 5.5 percent fee on revenues. The state leverages the money from those fees to qualify for a federal match.
Rather than lose the federal match, making the Medicaid situation that much worse, Perdue opted to extend a 1.6 percent fee to hospitals and health insurance plans and recreate the “super-speeder” idea, which would impose a fine of $200 on those found guilty of driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit. A similar plan failed in the final days of the 2008 legislative session.
O.K., to raise money for hospitals, we’re going to tax those same hospitals, plus the insurance companies that reimburse those hospitals when they are lucky enough to have a “paying” customer.
The Governor adds this word of caution when judging this plan:
“Like most things we address here at the Capitol, this plan will not be universally acclaimed,” Perdue said. “But, I have arrived at this solution after thoughtful, careful deliberation. I implore you. Do not rush into a short-sighted cut that would have long-term consequences for Georgia’s most needy.”
O.K., I’ll try to give the Governor the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps I cling to logic too much, and am thus defeated in my understanding of this fix to an illogical system.
So, Peach Punditers, I need your help. Someone please help me understand how the best place to get funds needed for medical care is from those who provide said care.