Clueless politicians in Austin are in dire need of good advice from others than managed care providers, insurance carriers and medical caregivers who all have vested interests in continuing the status quo. Time is running out for common sense to have a place at the table this legislative session.
By Bill Rusteberg
The Texas legislature is now in session and considering a senate bill that will eviscerate the TRS ActiveCare program for Texas school districts. Senate Bill 789 will require all districts of 1,000 employees or more to seek their own solution to rising health care costs and will allow districts of 500-1000 employees to do the same.
Health care costs under the TRS ActiveCare program are bankrupting the state treasury. Managed care contracts continue to guarantee price increases, compounded annually, year after year. Instead of seeking common sense alternatives, the state is instead considering throwing districts under the bus and off the deficit draining state budget. Out of sight, out of mind….. local taxpayers fend for themselves……is politically expedient but short sighted.
The state of Montana has taken a different approach. (Montana Adopts Reference Based Pricing Strategies) The “Can Do!” spirit of the Wild West prevails in that great state and is a good example for Texas to follow. I hate to suggest this, since Texas is the greatest state of all and not known to follow anyone else’s lead other than their own. But, in this case, a lost set of Texas size cajones has surfaced in Montana. They need to be returned to Texas.
Montana threw managed care under the bus, not the state’s health program. They implemented a Reference Based Pricing plan effective July 1, 2016. Estimated savings to the taxpayers are in the many millions of dollars.
A quick review of the current TRS ActiveCare financials suggest a Reference Based Plan Option could save the entire plan from financial bankruptcy. And, despite what mainstream readers have become conditioned to believe after 30 years of managed care, TRS ActiveCare could actually improve benefits while reducing medical spend at the same time. Instead, the remaining TRS plan participants under this ill advised senate bill will continue to be shackled to the continuing failure of managed care, with only one or two plan choices, both with high deductibles.
The politicians in Austin need proven risk management advice from others than managed care providers, insurance carriers and medical caregivers who all have vested interests in continuing the status quo.
Time is running out for common sense to have a place at the table this legislative session.
Senate Bill 789: www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/doc/SB00789I.doc
Note: For readers north of the Nueces River, see definition of Cojones – Wikipedia
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