Since I first wrote about Moore’s health plan, he’s added another initiative, so it’s worth an update as I finish out my tour through the plans of the gubernatorial candidates. The centerpiece of Moore’s plan is a guarantee of health coverage for all children in North Carolina – a laudable goal. He’d create financial and structural incentives to enroll more kids who are already eligible for current affordable health coverage. He’d also expand affordable child coverage with sliding-scale premiums for parents in families of four earning up to $63,600 annually, with families at the higher end paying nearly full premium cost for coverage. Moore, like his rivals, is hazy on where the money will come from for insuring all kids. He says he doesn’t want to wait for Washington to act, and what fool would; especially with a President who has vetoed and is now actively trying to derail already expanded health coverage? However, the major new federal funding for affordable child health plans that President Bush and NC Republicans blocked last year is likely necessary for any plan to insure all of NC’s children. Look for that issue to come back to the table – and soon.
The recent addition to Moore’s health plan involves improving quality of care. Last year, Medicare announced a major new change in policy. Medical mistakes in a hospital – like leaving a sponge inside a surgical patient or allowing an easily preventable infection to develop – would no longer be paid for by Medicare. Relieving Medicare from paying for medical mistakes made by hospitals after admission was generally applauded as a way to increase the quality of care. Moore proposes expanding this policy to health care programs funded by NC. He’s right – many people think this change will improve the quality and, eventually perhaps, save money. However, when Medicare makes a change like this most private insurers follow suit as well as other state programs anyway, so this is a little bit like calling for rain in England or for another Duke Basketball choke.
Overall, Moore’s on the right track, although he surely could propose more targeted changes to expand coverage beyond kids.
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