Nothing. Proposition C passed by an overwhelming majority this past Tuesday and now Missourians can opt out of the Federal Health Insurance Mandate. The thought is that Missouri Hospitals and healthcare providers will be negatively affected because Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates are being lowered and there will still be some percentage of Missourians that will not have health coverage.
The healthcare reform bill will decrease Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for all providers but the thought of congress was the decrease in reimbursement would be offset by more people having coverage. In essence hospitals and providers will need to see more people, expend more resources, and provide more care to get the same amount of money they are receiving today.
I don’t believe Proposition C will have much effect on Missouri Hospitals. It seems hard to believe that all Missourians would have signed up for some kind of coverage even if Prop C didn’t pass. How often do you hear about uninsured drivers? The State of Missouri requires motorists to be insured but it doesn’t happen. I believe the federal health insurance mandate would be the same in that it would just keep honest people honest.
Regardless of Prop C hospitals will need to do a good job encouraging eligible individuals to enroll in federal programs like Medicaid, hospitals will need to be efficient in their utilization of resources, hospitals must do a better job educating patients with chronic conditions to help avoid readmission, and hospitals and physicians need to become better partners.
In theory I was in favor of Proposition C and if I didn’t work in healthcare I would probably have voted “Yes” because I am in favor of free choice and I would like to see a little less government intervention. In the end I voted “No” because I believed a “No” vote was best for Missouri. Healthcare Reform is here and there is a federal mandate to have health coverage and the mandate applies to all Americans, by opting out Missouri may miss out on federal dollars. I liken it to federal highway dollars, I would be in favor of the State of Missouri eliminating speed limits but in doing so we would no longer receive federal highway money and our roads are bad enough as it is (but that is a topic for another blog).
Will Missouri hospitals be able to patch their potholes…I think so, but I don’t believe we’ll eliminate all of the bumps in the road.