State News

Health care leaders discuss reform impact on N.C.

Posted August 25, 2010

— State health care leaders on Wednesday called for the industry's help to implement the national health reform law in North Carolina.

"It's a major undertaking," said Pam Silberman, president of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, an independent agency created by the General Assembly to provide balanced information on health issues affecting the state’s residents.

Dr. Donald Berwick, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recently compared the massive Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act to re-engineering a plane while flying it.

Silberman said North Carolina wants to be in the cockpit while the effort is underway.

"We're just at this point exploring what does the bill tell us we need to do (and thinking) about what the different options are," she said. "We've got more to do, but I think we can become a national leader as we move forward."

Although many of the reforms won't take effect until 2014, small pieces have already been implemented, and others will come online in the coming months.

State Secretary of Health and Human Services Lanier Cansler said finding ways to provide health insurance to uninsured people across North Carolina requires some advance planning.

"We'll have well over a million people come into the Medicaid program or go into (insurance) exchanges," Cansler said. "(We need to) figure out how to handle the volume of folks who may want to enroll in the program."

North Carolina Institute of Medicine logo Implementing health reform in N.C. will take planning

North Carolina could apply for federal grants that encourage new ways to deliver health care, Silberman said.

"Is it reducing health care costs? Is it improving health care quality? Once we know what works, then we can expand it across the country to other places," she said.

Patient advocates said cutting costs is critical to make health care affordable, but they acknowledged that change will take time.

"I think of it like doing a three-point turn with an oil tanker in the ocean," said Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Health Access Coalition. "You're going to eventually change the system, but it will take a while to get there."

The Institute of Medicine has nine task forces addressing various aspects of health care reform, and Silberman said they will draft recommendations to send to Cansler and Gov. Beverly Perdue.

"This is going to be a major shift in how we do business," Cansler said, adding that the new law presents "opportunities and challenges" for the state.

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  • ratherbnnc Aug 26, 11:02 a.m.

    mshood7 - Your arguments are laughable! The majority decided they wanted this health care bill when the majority voted to elect him. That was part of the deal. Your majority were only a few with big mouths. This was discussed and debated for over a year. I guess you hate it when they didnt invite you into the back rooms. The Republicans had their chance and they did nothing about it. Where were the discussions during the Bush years? Thats the general idea to find what works or not. Perfect reason why it doesnt go into effect until 2014. Duh!

  • ratherbnnc Aug 26, 10:53 a.m.

    I understand that Mr. Obama was hired to do just one thing and at the expense of being a one term president, was to pass Gov't run Healthcare very expedictiously! There were certain parts that would guarantee redistriution of welfare from those who could pay a small fee. And those who were rich and successful from being a participant in the capitalist system thru hard work and sacrifice would have to pay the way for those who had not yet had a chance to succeed because of guarantees from the gov't sponsored welfare system that bleeds and sucks the life out of those who work and pay their fair share to those who are not given the chanceto work and pay their fair share because of this vicious cycle of redistribution by the socialist command of selective indignation.

    mshood7

    Sure glad your not making decisions on this with your poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation! Geez!

  • mshood7 Aug 26, 10:45 a.m.

    I understand that Mr. Obama was hired to do just one thing and at the expense of being a one term president, was to pass Gov't run Healthcare very expedictiously! There were certain parts that would guarantee redistriution of welfare from those who could pay a small fee. And those who were rich and successful from being a participant in the capitalist system thru hard work and sacrifice would have to pay the way for those who had not yet had a chance to succeed because of guarantees from the gov't sponsored welfare system that bleeds and sucks the life out of those who work and pay their fair share to those who are not given the chanceto work and pay their fair share because of this vicious cycle of redistribution by the socialist command of selective indignation. Democracy was not on their minds when they co opted this bill. It was to put our HealthCare in the hands of an already powerful and greedy admin. Now, when you get to the part about raising the cost for services rendered and

  • mshood7 Aug 26, 10:32 a.m.

    I would first ask that those who decided against the wishes of the majority of Americans to read what they discussed in backrooms and dark halls of Congress. This piece of so called HC that is suppose to cover everone...was not even read and discussed or debated with the American people. Now you want to know the particulars and try to implement a policy that you and I don't even know will work. Ha! That's laughable. IT'S A LITTLE LATE...ya think?

  • Shamrock Aug 26, 9:26 a.m.

    Kinda reminds me of the WCPSS board. Let's vote, then we will develop a plan. This health care plan strategy seems backwards, but at least they are trying, I guess.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 25, 7:22 p.m.

    "Once we know what works'

    DO WHAT? You mean no one knows what this will do and did not before they forced it upon us? Now there's a surprise. I bet Bev loves it because she'll be long gone by the time it kicks in and no one will be blaming her. They'll be blaming Gvoernor Roy Cooper!

  • mep Aug 25, 7:21 p.m.

    It is going to be a nightmare... and cost us all dearly. It will not save us money, health care will cost us all more. And it will cost us the quality and accessibility we have always enjoyed.

  • skeeter II Aug 25, 6:37 p.m.

    There are so many pages to the legislation to really determine what will have to be done! And regulations to implement the ACT have not been written yet -- these could contain requirements that are not spelled out in the legislation, if past history is any indications of what is coming!