Martha Coakley today outlined her vision for national health care reform releasing a plan that would expand coverage for the uninsured, improve quality, and contain spiraling health care costs. Her plan, Health Care Reform: Strategies to Contain Costs, Improve Quality, and Expand Coverage, details her prescription for improving health care in the United States, and outlines the core principles for which she will fight in the United States Senate.
"We have the best doctors, nurses and other caregivers in the world," Martha Coakley points out. "Yet our national health care system costs too much and covers too few. The status quo is both economically unaffordable and a moral disgrace."
Coakley reiterated her call for a strong public health insurance option to foster greater competition in the industry, lower costs and expand coverage to the more than 47 million Americans with no health insurance. She also endorsed an individual mandate for health insurance, expanded Medicaid coverage for the poorest Americans, and new government subsidies for those who are not eligible for Medicaid yet cannot afford the full cost of insurance.
Coakley also pledged to hold employers more accountable for providing health coverage, and to fight for strong consumer protection measures that would crack down on insurance companies who deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or make false marketing promises.
In Health Care Reform, Coakley offers the following strategies to contain costs, improve quality, and expand coverage:
* Change the payment incentives for health care services by reforming our predominantly fee-for-service model that rewards volume and complexity over outcomes and quality. Instead, Coakley would align payment incentives with quality outcomes and reward providers for keeping people healthy.
* Increase transparency of health care quality and cost information by fighting for a standard set of core quality measures to be used by all health care providers and payers to facilitate uniform collection and reporting of performance data.
* Improve quality and patient safety and reduce unnecessary costs in the system by reducing preventable readmissions, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits to reduce costs and improve patient quality outcomes.
* Encourage standardization to reduce administrative costs in health care by requiring the development of uniform administrative systems (such as for billing, claims processing, credentialing, etc.) to reduce the transactional costs between health plans and providers.
* Encourage better integration of care and improve access to primary care through investments in Health Information Technology (HIT) to facilitate patient information sharing, reduce administrative costs, and improve care delivery. Such innovations would also reduce health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities.
* Expand the availability of primary care and invest in prevention programs by encouraging medical school graduates to go into primary care practice and investing in programs that will ensure that more Americans receive basic check-ups and other needed care. These steps will promote public health, encourage healthier life styles, and ultimately reduce costs.
Last week, Coakley released Preventing Another Economic Collapse: The Need for Enhanced Financial Reform, her plan to strengthen the long-term stability of our economy through stricter regulation of financial services, greater consumer protections, and loan modifications.
Coakley, 56, was raised in North Adams. She is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she was a member of the first class admitted to the college that included female students. She received her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979. Coakley resides in Medford with her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor, a retired police Deputy Superintendent.