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BlueCross BlueShield Proposal To Expand Health Insurance, Reduce Costs

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The New York Times on Saturday published an interview with Scott Serota, president and CEO of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, in which he discussed a health care proposal recently adopted by the BCBSA board. The four-point proposal would seek to expand health insurance to more U.S. residents, reduce costs and improve quality of care.

According to Serota, the impetus for the BCBSA board was that "what is discussed in virtually all forums as health care reform is really health care financing reform." He said that "the real underlying issue, which is that the entire health care delivery system needs to be modified," has not received adequate national attention.

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Serota said that BCBSA seeks to ensure that "health care costs rise no faster than any other goods and services," adding that the "essential fundamental to getting there is improving the underlying system because 30% of care rendered today, according to some studies, is unnecessary, redundant and, in some cases, even harmful."

He said, "We need to get waste out of the system," and the "cornerstone of how we get at this is creating a comparative effectiveness institute to study what treatments really work best for a given condition ... and letting everyone know what works." In addition, he said that BCBSA must "work with people who are eligible for government programs but are not enrolling" and "develop new products like high-deductible plans to attract people like the 'young invincibles' -- who think they will never get sick -- and get them in the habit of buying coverage."

Serota also discussed a rule under which Medicare no longer will reimburse hospitals for 10 preventable conditions and the effect that the health care proposal announced by Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) would have on the employer-sponsored health care system (Olson, New York Times, 10/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.