National health care reform is far from perfect. But, for better or worse, life affords all of us the opportunity to turn life’s lemons into lemonade. If Maryland officials keep patient’s health and well-being at the forefront, federal health care reform implementation could provide decent coverage to a large group of previously uninsured residents. Yes, Maryland will continue to have uninsured, but with proper implementation, the reform bill could serve as an important stop gap measure—lemonade.
Health Insurance Exchanges, are one such opportunity. Millions of people will receive insurance through the Health Insurance Exchanges. Yet, there is little collaborative dialogue amongst Maryland administrators, policy officials, providers, insurers, advocates and consumers about how the exchange should look. For the best result, stakeholders should work together and think outside of the usual boxes, comfort zones and self preservation reflexes. Instead of fearing what they will lose, stakeholders should think of what they and their new patients could gain. With the help of smart people inside and outside of Maryland, the state could create a transformative model that is a beacon for other states.
One example. We all know that some providers prefer to not take Medicaid clients. What if we use the Health Insurance Exchange as an innovative way to make sure all clients private and public have the same insurance cards, with similar group numbers and virtually no way for providers to tell clients apart? Health care reform allows this flexibility which would translate to effectively increasing access to care for many. All collaborating is a lot of work, but could improve the health of Maryland residents, their families and their communities.