Kilgore Unveils Healthcare Reforms

Someone on the Kilgore team knows their stuff when it comes to healthcare. I was pleasantly surprised at the substantive nature of the proposals in the latest release from the Kilgore campaign. The plan overdoes it with new tax “credits”, which are nothing more than back-door expenditures, but there’s no way to fix Virginia’s health care system on the cheap. All things considered, there are some meaty ideas that deserve consideration. This may be the Kilgore team’s best effort yet. The highlights:

  • Information Technology. On the grounds that IT can boost productivity of a health care system plagued by paperwork and redundancy, Kilgore would encourage physicians, public-private partnerships and the state to invest in IT projects and integrated information systems. Good idea. IT can save billions and improve patient safety.
  • Long-Term Care. Kilgore would allow individuals purchasing long-term care insurance for themselves or their parents to receive a tax credit. Sounds good, but could be a budget buster. It’ll drain the treasury, but won’t save the state any money: Poor people won’t buy the insurance — they’ll just go on Medicaid.
  • Rural Primary Care. Kilgore wants to put a rural health center in every distressed community in Virginia. Good idea. Money spent preventing illness in a primary care setting can save money spent on curing an illness in a hospital.
  • Health Savings Accounts. Kilgore wants to “work closely with the federal government” to expand access to health savings accounts. OK. That’s something that insurance companies should be doing, but I can’t see any harm coming of it.

It’s a good start. If only someone would (1) tackle mandated insurance benefits which makes the price of medical insurance unaffordable for small business, and (2) eliminate the Certificate of Public Need process, which discourages competition between hospitals and specialty health care facilities.

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  1. So – a tax credit for upgrading IT?

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Looks like Gov. Warner has beat Kilgore to the punch on the idea of applying IT to health care. Earlier today, the Guv announced the appointment of 33 individuals to his recently created Governor’s Task Force on Information Technology in Health Care. Says the governor’s press release: “The Task Force is responsible for developing and implementing a state health information system that better uses technology and electronic health record (EHR) systems to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care in Virginia.

    “As health care costs continue to rise and the Medicaid program consumes nearly $4 billion a year in Virginia, technology offers the greatest promise to reduce costs and improve our health care system. This task force will study how Virginia can maximize the power of technology to help us save lives and save money.”

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I’ve talked with Del. Phil Hamilton for years about expanding Health Savins Accounts. He says we already have them in VA. I told him I know nothing about them from my work or how much anyone gets to take off their taxes for building a health savings account, portability, etc. So, maybe there is something to build on in the VA Code. Dunno. Expanding it sooner, better is a good idea.

    Wish Jerry Kilgore would offer an answer on how VA could mitigate its Medicaid mandated payments (maybe Health Savings Accounts are supposed to reduce the number of people on Medicaid) and what he proposes for our Federal reps to do in Congress to fix Medicaid from busting our budget.

  4. Jeremy Hinton Avatar
    Jeremy Hinton

    As an interesting anecdote about how improving IT resources in health care can result in improved efficiency but foreign outsourcing of “professional jobs”, take Riverside Health System here in hampton roads. Currently, any ultrasounds/MRIs/etc done outside of “normal busines hours” are sent electronically (VPN over the net) to a processing facility in Australia, where doctors examine them and respond back. This allows Riverside to not have on duty physicians with this diagnostic training 24/7.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    All valid suggestions but somwhere I hear Joel Gray singing “money, money, money, money, money.” If Kilgore actually gets all the tax breaks passed he has promised (and it is not even JUNE), we’ll need a tax increase to cover them. Wait. Did that all ready — cut the car tax, raise the sales tax…here we go again.

  6. Blue Cross of California Avatar
    Blue Cross of California

    The health care reforms sound like a great way to improve health insurance for many.

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