• September 23, 2009

BCBSND explains potential impacts of health reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota this week issued details explaining the company's position on national health reform. BCBSND supports proposals that assure every person in North Dakota is covered with appropriate health insurance. The company opposes a government-run plan that would pay hospitals and doctors in North Dakota at Medicare rates.

"Today, Medicare pays North Dakota hospitals and doctors at some of the lowest rates in the country," said BCBSND President and CEO Paul von Ebers. "We are concerned that if a large number of North Dakotans are covered by a government plan that paid at Medicare rates, we would actually drive hospitals out of business and cause many physicians to leave the state. So, we cannot support a plan that would severely damage the health care system of the state."

BCBSND also believes a government-run health plan would unravel the existing business-based system, and a government-run plan would hinder much-needed delivery system reforms critical to controlling costs. The business-based model works because the private sector is free to innovate and is already successful with programs such as centers of excellence, pay-for-quality and chronic care management.

BCBSND supports coverage for everyone, including the 75,000 uninsured North Dakotans. The company favors state exchanges that would help consumers compare a variety of health insurance plans. And the company favors state regulation of the insurance industry, rather than federal insurance regulation.

BCBSND believes reform is needed focusing on compensating providers for quality of care and moving away from fees for service, or compensating providers for the quantity of services provided. BCBSND supports technologies that help consumers and providers be more efficient and informed, and the company backs prevention and wellness programs.

"We all need to play a key role in taking personal responsibility for better health, ultimately helping reduce medical procedures and treatments," according to BCBSND's position paper.