Thursday AM November 5th, 2009

Health professionals from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Methodist Health System talked about health care reform issues at a recent roundtable in Houston. Ed Mayberry reports.

medical costDiscussion centered on how issues in the health care reform debate could affect local health care.  Gary Jacobs with Universal American says health care reform is a moving target.

"The biggest question is covering more people through a transferrence of funds and certain new taxes to provide insurance for people that do not have insurance today.  And some of the issues that came up, Ed, frankly, were things like 'Is there a mandate?  Does that mean everybody has to be covered?' and the ramifications for the system if people opt out of the program, thus keeping healthy young individuals out of the pool and keeping sicker people in the pool." 

Jacobs says one thing constantly came up in the discussion.

"We are now at the stage in the debate where the politics are trumping the policy.  We may have well-intended people creating policy that was good for the country, but now the politics are really rising above the policy issues.  So we've gotta look for bipartisan solutions where members of the Republican party, members of the Democratic party, can kind of step aside from just worrying about the next election and can focus on real people's concerns and then work towards solving them." 

Jacobs says part of the debate is if more people are included in coverage, how will that affect costs?  Panelists at the industry roundtable at the Magnolia Hotel also included representatives from The Methodist Hospital System's physician organization and the president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...