Wolf joins governors' push for health care reform
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf joined a bipartisan group of governors Friday in issuing a broad outline for ways states can reform the nation's health care system.
The blueprint issued by Wolf and the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio calls for states to implement value-based care models, actively discourage anti-competitive practices among health networks, and take other steps meant to encourage patient access and lower costs.
"I am pleased to join with my fellow governors to demonstrate how state efforts can be effective at streamlining regulations and cutting Medicaid costs, while ensuring there is still a competitive insurance market," Wolf said in a statement.
The plan urges states to take the lead by implementing policies in their state Medicaid programs or in health plans covering state employees. The most significant of those policies would be the implementation of value-based care.
Currently, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program and the Medicaid programs of other states largely function on a fee-for-service model, meaning they reimburse physicians and health networks for each service they provide a patient. In a value-based care system, providers are reimbursed based on the health outcomes that result from those procedures.
Medicare reimbursements to acute-care facilities already follow a value-based system as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Pennsylvania began its own transition to value-based care in February of last year under what is known as the Health Innovations in Pennsylvania program.
The plan issued this week offers little detail to how value-based plans could be implemented in other states.
It is not the first bipartisan effort Wolf has joined to change the health care system. In July, Wolf and 10 other governors signed a letter to congressional leaders, urging them to stabilize health care markets rather than seek a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
In August, Wolf and six other governors issued a similar warning, adding a demand for the federal government to allow states more leeway when experimenting with federally funded health care systems such as Medicaid.
The most recent plan calls, in part, for reviewing state policies and regulations that could be increasing costs and discouraging innovation, such as credentialing practices or demands for clinical trials.
The governors involved in the plan issued this week include:
- John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado
- John Kasich (R) of Ohio
- Brian Sandoval (R) of Nevada
- Bill Walker (I) of Alaska
- Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment