Kaine Embraces Transparency in Health Care

Kudos to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for backing meaningful market-based reform of Virginia’s health care system. The Commonwealth of Virginia has joined a federal initiative to stimulate effective market competition in the health care sector by giving citizens the information they need to be effective consumers. The four key measures include:

  • Public reporting of the quality of care delivered by health care providers
  • Public reporting of the price of care
  • Commitment to health information technology standards, and
  • Commitment to use incentives for high quality care, competitive costs and consumer choice.

“Health care transparency provides consumers with information and creates an incentive to choose health care providers based on value,”Kaine said in a press release. “It will help Virginians spend their health care dollars wisely when they know their options in advance, know the quality of hospitals in their area and know what procedures will cost. This transparency also will further motivate our health care providers to provide quality care at competitive prices.”

Kaine elaborated briefly on this consumer-driven health care initiative in comments at the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education banquet today. The purpose, he explained, is to create “a health care system that works like a market.” Between the Medicaid program and medical insurance for state employees, the Commonwealth provides health care for one in eight Virginians, the Governor said. The state will use its clout as a buyer to help shape the medical marketplace.

Reforming the health care system is one of Kaine’s top legislative priorities. It is reassuring to see that he has embraced market-based reforms.

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3 responses to “Kaine Embraces Transparency in Health Care”

  1. While the Greens support the motives, we question the method. Greens demand Virginia join the majorty of the world with universal, single payer health care.

    Personally I always thought there could be an interesting quid pro quo with the flat taxers on this that would enable both a flat tax (with those making $30 thou or less exempt of taxes) and a universal health care system.

    The doctors have to be getting tired of the corporate accountants and insurance suits.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    we know more about how to compare two new cars for our needs that we know about our own health care.

    When you have blood drawn… you don’t know the track record of those that test your blood.

    you don’t know if what they charge is high or low .. outrageous or a bargain.

    If you have an operation – you have no clue about the range of surgeons you might choose from… their background, experience, track record… charges… etc… usually .. it’s word of mouth.. sorta like asking your neighbor if he likes his Chevy.. would he ever admit that it’s a DOG?

    when you go from one doctor to another on referral .. YOUR records.. you have virtually no idea how much info has been transferred – because most of it is on paper and/or stored in incompatible formats… that can’t be shared…and so not all of it is sent… and not infrequently.. important, relevant info is not transmitted.

    and THAT’s the reason we have to fill out yet another form about your medical history … essentially to protect the referral doctor from NOT having information he/she should have and should have gotten… if you don’t write it down and there is a screwup ..your own form can be used against you… because you failed to disclose…stuff you don’t even know the name of.

    think about what this actually means in terms of your treatment. The doctor is not concerned about a lack of adequate information .. with respect to the therapies he might use.. but rather he is more concerned with whether he is protected if he screws up because he lacks info.

    As far as I am concerned.. the whole health care industry is a scam .. the wild, wild west in terms of accountability and disclosure.

    and I’m just totally amazed… that health care consumers are so passive about it…

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    It’s the insurance system that makes us feel as if we are spending someone else’s money. That and the fear that, if we don’t do what’s recommended, we might become sick, disabled or even die. What’s money in case like that, especially when it’s someone else’s money?

    A single payer system would be a disaster. Look at Great Britain or Canada. Somehow we need to use medical savings accounts with some method of protecting people from huge medical expenses — sharing the risk. Putting individuals in charge of their medical spending will cause suppliers to reduce their prices — look at laser eye surgery.

    Another issue that is not discussed in PC society is the impact of illegal aliens and their often citizen children on health care costs. I have mixed feelings about this complicated issue (illegal immigration), but we need to be honest enough to admit that we are importing poverty into the U.S. But for illegal immigration, our health care problems would be smaller than they are today.

    I still think that one solution would be to impose a payroll tax on any employer/person hiring illegal aliens/guest workers and to permit private taxpayer lawsuits to collect that tax, which would go to pay for the added health care, police, school, etc. services provided to these people. If we all had to pay labor costs that covered not only wages, but also support services, we’d wind up with a much better result that either mass deportations or full amnesty — neither of which make a lick of sense.

    To take a shot at our liberal friends, why do they harp about Wal Mart not paying sufficient benefits, but ignore those who hire illegal immigrants and pass along the costs of social services to taxpayers?

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