NC Treasurer’s Health Plan statements are offensive

From Steve Lawler, President, North Carolina Healthcare Association, in response to “NC Health Plan changes will cut hospital costs” (Feb. 8 For the Record):

In his campaign to change the payment system for the NC Health Plan, our elected State Treasurer has opted to spread misinformation, create uncertainty for state employees and retirees, and sow doubt about the dedication of healthcare providers in our state instead of exploring sustainable solutions to solve the complex challenges facing the plan. Healthcare leaders across the state have offered to work with him on numerous occasions, but have been rebuffed. The treasurer’s latest assertions, that physicians and hospital employees are fraudulent, wasteful, and would “order more tests” in response to his ill-conceived plan, is offensive and inaccurate. I have worked with physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals for more than 35 years, and consider them heroes. We put our trust in them to deliver our babies, care for our aging parents and treat our illness and injuries. They deserve our respect and admiration.

The issue at hand is protecting an important benefit for state employees, retirees and their families, while ensuring the state’s dollars are being spent wisely. Simply paying less for the same services does nothing to modernize the State Health Plan or to address the underlying causes of rising costs. It ignores the prevailing movement to value-based care, which is already working in North Carolina to prevent illness, eliminate unnecessary spending and testing through integrated care, and manage chronic diseases. It’s time for our elected officials to put people ahead of politics and work with, not against, healthcare providers to build a better State Health Plan that improves the health of its members and protects access to care for all of North Carolina’s 10 million citizens.