Health Reform Events in Rhode Island

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PBN Op-Ed: ACA, Part I wasn’t easy, but Part II may be harder


Guest Column:
Betsy Stubblefield Loucks
Posted 4/28/14

Please visit PBN for the full article. 

Consumers’ share of the cost of health care is getting too little attention when it comes to reform efforts in Rhode Island. We have been celebrating the success of our individual and small-market health-benefits exchange, HealthSource RI, which has extended coverage to more than 90,000 Rhode Islanders through both private health insurance plans and Medicaid.

Predictions are that we will cut our uninsured rate in half, and this is wonderful news. However, that work was all part of ACA, Part I. As Dr. Nick Tsiongas, founder of HealthRIght, said at a recent R.I. Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, now it is time for ACA, Part II. As they learned in Massachusetts, the focus of Part II is on cost containment.

What consumers pay for health care has been rising much faster than most other household expenses. Since 1960, health expenditures have risen 55-fold. If prices of common goods rose that much, today we would pay $16.50 for a gallon of gas, $22.55 for a gallon of milk, or $31.45 for a dozen eggs.

Consumers’ share of the growth of costs has increased, too. Since 1999, premiums have increased 138 percent, and the growth in workers’ contributions to premiums (159 percent) has dramatically outpaced the growth in earnings (42 percent) and inflation (31 percent).

Please visit PBN for the full article. 

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