My jaw dropped when NH caught my eye in the Times one page blurb on health care reform.
That's all the "time" reform is getting now that the large federal vote has passed historically without GOP support. One page is all most americans can stomach after 18 months of political turmoil that's bound. To be remembered for giving birth to "tea partyers", "blue dog democrats," and had representatives calling out "liar" and "baby killer" like teenagers at a high school assembly, but little do people realize, or care, that the battle marches on at a state level.
The war has been won but smaller stateside battles will determine how new laws are implemented with each state watching the other for the most effective policies i.e. The ones that create the atmosphere that provides the best quality care for the lowest price.
Move to me, sitting in my green pleather recliner in the pheresis room at dartmouth, bored, flipping through my fifth magazine.
I saw the article, gasp, talking about creating an open market health industry and commending NH for its move towards transparency and informing consumers,(yes, people/patients, we are consumers. We're buying a product.) by creating its online hospital pricing comparison site.
Previously, there was a marked difference in pricing between similar hospitals for the same procedure due to patient's (consumers) lack of knowledge regarding the costs at each hospital.
People couldn't shop for an MRI between three hospitals within 30 miles for the best deal like they could search for a lamp at Pier One, Ikea and Kohl's, even if the cost for the same exact test was $1100, $1550, and $2300.
See it for yourself at http://www.nhhealthcost.org/default.aspx
How this site has affected health care costs is unknown as of yet, but NH's next steps are to study the factors contributing to rising health car costs and form a commission to implement the studies finding for providing cost effective quality care (Senate Bills 392 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2010/SB0392.html and 505 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2010/SB0505.html).
The idea for a regulatory commission is just one example of how states are eyeing policies effectively implemented in other states regarding health care reform. Maryland instituted a commission similar to the one proposed in NH and has seen a 60 million reduction in costs while maintaining previous health outcomes.
I finally had a reason to smile after a morning of pheresis and years of fighting disease after disease and insurance after hospital over bill after bill. What will become self-evident in the future, informing health care consumers regarding the services they're paying for, has started to happen in NH.
Today, I'm proud to be a Granite Stater.