Mitch Daniels: Healthcare Reform Hoosier Stylee

So many articles lately on Mitch Daniels, so little time. This one is topical because it has to do with health care reform, or more specifically, health savings accounts. You know, one of the Republican alternatives the President lies aboot us not having.

I’ve always been the most interest in HSA (let Wikipedia explain more), just because it works the best for me personally. I do this weird thing where I take relatively decent care of myself, so outside of my annual physical my medical costs are generally low. Now, admittedly, I don’t fully understand how it would effect families or non-preventable illnesses like the cancer, but everything else I’ve read aboot it seems to make the most sense.

The Democrat Party claims this is all nonsense, and it only puts money in the hands of [place latest HCR bogeyman here]. However for the people of Indiana, where Mitch Daniels has put HSA’s into action, they seems to be happy with them as the current Governor (and possible 2012 candidate) explains…

The HSA option has proven highly popular. This year, over 70% of our 30,000 Indiana state workers chose it, by far the highest in public-sector America. Due to the rejection of these plans by government unions, the average use of HSAs in the public sector across the country is just 2%. What we, and independent health-care experts at Mercer Consulting, have found is that individually owned and directed health-care coverage has a startlingly positive effect on costs for both employees and the state. What follows is a summary of our experience:

State employees enrolled in the consumer-driven plan will save more than $8 million in 2010 compared to their coworkers in the old-fashioned preferred provider organization (PPO) alternative. In the second straight year in which we’ve been forced to skip salary increases, workers switching to the HSA are adding thousands of dollars to their take-home pay. (Even if an employee had health issues and incurred the maximum out-of-pocket expenses, he would still be hundreds of dollars ahead.) HSA customers seem highly satisfied; only 3% have opted to switch back to the PPO. The state is saving, too. In a time of severe budgetary stress, Indiana will save at least $20 million in 2010 because of our high HSA enrollment. Mercer calculates the state’s total costs are being reduced by 11% solely due to the HSA option.

Most important, we are seeing significant changes in behavior, and consequently lower total costs. In 2009, for example, state workers with the HSA visited emergency rooms and physicians 67% less frequently than co-workers with traditional health care. They were much more likely to use generic drugs than those enrolled in the conventional plan, resulting in an average lower cost per prescription of $18. They were admitted to hospitals less than half as frequently as their colleagues. Differences in health status between the groups account for part of this disparity, but consumer decision-making is, we’ve found, also a major factor.

Read the whole editorial because he goes into a lot of more detail. And yeah, this is all according to Gov. Daniels himself, but since he just won re-election with close to 60% of the vote, the people of Indiana don’t seem to mind all that much.

As far as 2012 goes, when one of the other candidates has a “universal coverage plan” that his name is attached to AND many people says is similar to the widely unpopular ObamaCare, a HCR plan this successful could do wonders for a guy who is considering running for President. Just saying.

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