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How the States Can Reform Health Care

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Paragon leaders and advisors have unparalleled experience in evaluating government programs, developing policies, and working within government to implement reforms.

Almost everyone who writes about health policy these days assumes we have a national system that needs national reform. Republicans would like to repeal laws. Democrats would like to pass new ones. Yet, both seem to agree that any reform worth talking about must be federal.

The reality is quite different. We have not one, but 50, health care systems, and they are not alike. Without any change in federal law, some states are making radical changes that are lowering costs, increasing quality and making heath care delivery more efficient.

To get the full picture of what is happening and for recommendations for what states can do, consult “Don’t Wait for Washington,” produced by the Paragon Health Institute. What follows are some of its revelations.

States Can Start with Their Employee Health Plans 

In most places the state employee health plan is one of the largest, if not the largest, health plan in the state. So, state legislators who want to reform health care should start with the one plan over which they have a great deal of direct control.

State governments know what they pay for employee health care in the aggregate, but many do not know how much they are paying for procedures at different hospitals. Even if they do have those data, they tend to pay whatever the hospitals charge – leading to vastly different payments for the same procedures, depending on where the patients happen to get treated.

Read the full article in Forbes.

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