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MacDonald Proposes Cutting Health Care Costs

MacDonald Campaign

ADAMS, Mass. — Ed MacDonald, candidate for state representative in the 1st Berkshire District, proposes to move health care forward by cutting costs by 30 percent. “I will propose legislation to reduce health care costs for working families and businesses,” he said.

According to MacDonald, as recently enacted health care reform laws become implemented, challenges remain to assure the development of a high–performance health care system for the Commonwealth. Despite great achievements in expanding health insurance coverage, MacDonald says we have much to accomplish to achieve a high-value, integrated health delivery system which is patient-centered. In order to  lower costs, increase access to care and improve the overall quality of care delivered, he proposes expanding primary care, creating electronic health information systems, and establishing fair malpractice policies.

According to MacDonald, although it has been shown that a strong primary care foundation can lower costs and improve health outcomes, fewer physicians are choosing primary care careers, and those who are already practicing are changing jobs or retiring early. He says that it's  imperative to commit resources that will provide an incentive to grow and sustain primary care in Massachusetts. MacDonald proposes providing tuition assistance and grants for medical students who desire primary care careers.

"The average medical education debt is now about $200,000. This high education cost burden does not encourage medical students to seek traditionally lower paid fields such as primary care. For those currently in practice in primary care, improvements in reimbursements and lower overhead costs will help to achieve retention of experienced physicians by reducing costs of practice," he stated.

"We need to identify and eliminate those health insurance policies and procedures which only serve to increase medical practice overhead costs and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Insurance interference leads to delayed care and poorer outcomes. The best way to make health care more efficient, coordinated and effective is to utilize primary care with an emphasis on disease prevention and wellness as the new model for patient care," he continued.

MacDonald "strongly endorses" electronic medical record (EMR) and health information technology efforts, saying these technologies "will ultimately improve communication within our health care system," providing rapid connection of patient information between health care providers, allowing for better coordinated care and enhance timely diagnosis and treatment. MacDonald said EMR will help reduce costs by eliminating unnecessarily repeated medical testing.

Additionally, MacDonald proposes "fair medical malpractice reform" to maintain patient safety from negligence while not penalizing good doctors.

"This reform is needed to help reduce 'defensive medicine' practice which only increases overall health costs. It is estimated by the GAO that nationwide $1 billion a year is spent solely on factors related to malpractice. These factors include ordering unnecessary tests, rising malpractice insurance premiums and costs of litigation," he stated.

"Health care providers are non profits.  I would propose that the CEOs, board members and upper management reduce their salaries. In a report dated July 22, Blue Cross Blue Shield had in its coffers more than 3 ½ times required for solvency. I would propose that this number be tightened up to one or two percent solvency. This should reduce costs. With all these suggestions implemented, the cost of health insurance should reduce significantly," he stated.

Tags: health care reform      

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Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

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Edward J. Markey, Democrat
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John B. Miller, Republican

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David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

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Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

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