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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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« Today's Globe: imaging firms fight Medicare cuts | Main | Notables »

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On the blogs: Medicare For All, who collects deductibles?

On Let's Talk Health Care, Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker considers the proposal that expanding Medicare to cover all Americans would fix the country's health care coverage crisis because it has lower administrative costs and pays better than private insurance plans. But Medicare For All is not as simple as it seems, he writes.

"Private plans pay MORE than Medicare pays, not less!" he says, "If people want Medicare For All, they need to be prepared to either dramatically raise Medicare rates and payment and therefore, Medicare costs by a lot of money 20 to 25 percent by this estimate or kick the bejeebers out of the physician and hospital communities and make them eat the difference."

On WBUR's CommonHealth, Michael V. Sack, president and CEO of Hallmark Health, which operates Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, says insurers, not hospitals, should be charged with explaining and collecting the co-payments and deductibles that many newly insured residents will have to pay as of the July 1 deadline for near-universal coverage.

"Hospitals throughout Massachusetts spend a great deal of human and financial resources in trying to obtain payment for the services they provide," he writes. "Unfortunately, even after significant investment of time and personnel, the co-payments and deductibles can be the hardest money to collect."

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 01:38 PM
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