health care costs

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A comprehensive health care reform bill is headed for a full vote in the Rhode Island Senate. The bill aims, in part, to increase the transparency of health care costs.

For the first time, Rhode Island’s insurance commissioner has directed health insurers to disclose what they pay for health care services. But that information won’t necessarily be directly available to patients.

You may have heard news yesterday that the federal government has released a greater level of detail on the prices hospitals charge for a list of common procedures and how widely those prices vary - not only from state to state but within states, and  even within the same city. The data comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS), from 3000 hospitals nationwide.

Rhode Island is beginning a public effort to develop a statewide plan to improve the way we pay for health care. Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts is leading the effort.

With a $1.6 million dollar grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Roberts launched the six-month planning initiative. A series of public meetings will gather input from experts and community members. Roberts says she wants a plan to help health care providers and insurers move away from payments for a particular treatment or service toward paying for improved health.

Hurd MD et al. / New England Journal of Medicine

News from the New England Journal of Medicine today finds that the cost of caring for people with dementia (including Alzheimer's) will more than double in the next couple of decades. That's because the nation's population is aging, and because the care can be expensive. Most of the estimated $215 billion dollars these diseases cost the economy can be chalked up to long term care.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mar 4, 2013

RI lawmakers are considering changing the Voter ID law.  RI artists can get some help managing their money.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.   
Plus Political Commentator Scott MacKay analyzes what the current sequestration means to RI.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Rhode Island Sen. Josh Miller has introduced a wide-ranging health care reform bill he hopes will give consumers more information about the costs and quality of the care they receive.

Miller’s bill tries to tackle several major health care reform goals the state has been moving towards in one package. It includes strategies to rein in health care costs and boost consumer access to information about those costs.

The ongoing public dispute between Landmark Hospital in Woonsocket and private insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island continues to heat up. Today, the hospital and its allies released the results of a survey it commissioned to gauge public opinion on its battle to win higher reimbursement rates from Blue Cross. Not surprisingly, it saw, in the results, a citizenry ready to blame Blue Cross if the hospital goes under. Blue Cross shot back in a statement to me via email today that it has “negotiated in good faith” with Landmark and that, as far as the survey is concerned: