Kennedy's Dream Came True, But Healthcare Cost Troubles Remain

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , March 24, 2010

Which leads us to Washington D.C., Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's old stomping ground on the Democratic side of the Senate aisles.

David Cordani, CEO of CIGNA, had mild praise for the health reform legislation, but echoed other insurers in saying the bills never get to the core of the problem of healthcare costs, namely medical bills.

Cordani told his hometown Hartford Courant that despite the new healthcare plan, the price of health insurance will continue to rise, noting, for instance, that proposed $70 billion in taxes to insurers over the next 10 years may be passed on to consumers.

So it appears that neither the insurers nor the Obama Administration will be dealing with the issue of rising healthcare premiums this time around, but they will continue to occur. When Anthem Blue Cross proposed 39% rate hikes in California, there was immediate and vociferous reaction on Capitol Hill, but no legislation.

In Massachusetts, they are looking for possible answers to the questions of high costs.

Tufts Health Plan said it supports a state Special Commission on Payment Reform's recommendation that global payments become the predominant form to providers in the state. Such a payment form could result in more "efficient and higher quality of care."

To dig deep into the details of what is needed, Tufts has created an internal unit that works specifically with medical groups to "improve performance, check data, and monitor for quality of care being delivered," said the company's President and CEO James Roosevelt, Jr. According to Roosevelt, Tufts has tried to address some of those "medical" cost issues before they occur.

Roosevelt is the grandson of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ted Kennedy would have liked that.

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Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.

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