Health & Wellness

Guest Column

Senator Vitale’s S-1285 Will Not Lower Health Care Costs

393d4ced6611ed6a4bca_Jonathan_Lustgarten1200x800.jpg
Dr. Jonathan Lustgarten is the past president of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society
393d4ced6611ed6a4bca_Jonathan_Lustgarten1200x800.jpg

Sen. Joseph Vitale and his supporters have promised our citizens substantial cost savings if his out-of-network bill, S-1285, becomes law.  He claims that by restricting how much emergency and trauma specialists get paid for saving human lives, New Jersey can save up to a billion dollars a year.

The entire medical profession in New Jersey, including our hospitals, opposes this legislation because it would result in dangerous shortages of these specialists. The health of our citizens would be jeopardized.
Elsewhere, legislators have promised cost savings by artificially lowering payments to doctors.  Have their promises been kept?  Not even in one case.  

Here are examples:  

Sign Up for E-News

In 2011, Illinois adopted severely restrictive legislation that capped out-of-network billing to in-network rates. Legislators and advocates in that State promised cost and premium reductions as a result. In reality, however, costs continue to soar.  This year, insurers in Illinois have purposed rate hikes of 45 percent.

In 2010, Maryland adopted out-of-network restrictions at 140 percent of Medicare. This year, Cigna has proposed a 37 percent increase in premiums.  CareFirst, Maryland’s largest insurer, will increase rates by 50.4 percent.

In New Jersey, as of Jan 1, 2017, plans sold in the Small Group markets were allowed by the state Department of Banking and Insurance to abandon the Usual, Customary, and Reasonable (UCR) standard for elective out-of-network reimbursement.  

As a result, these plans now pay out-of-network at 110 percent of Medicare.  Despite this massive reduction in physician reimbursement, premiums for these plans have already increased 10 percent in the first six months of 2017.

Reductions in physician reimbursement, wherever attempted, have never led to the promised reductions in premiums or total costs. Why?  Because physician reimbursement represents only a small fraction (approximately 8 percent) of health care spending. Put another way, even if you paid physicians nothing, costs would continue to spiral out of control.

In contrast, the insurance industry has diverted attention away from their own practices that drive up costs for all New Jersey citizens. By eliminating the hidden fees and commissions that insurers charge when they act as third party administrators to self-funded plans, the State Health Benefits Plan could potentially save $121 million per year. So can the union plans and large employers, amounting up to $1 billion in saving to New Jersey.

Eliminating these hidden fees will save our State money without the negative public health consequences of S-1285.  Other States have already done so.

Sen. Vitale promises large savings to the New Jersey health care budget by passing S-1285. Hold him accountable to this false promise. Make him produce even one example of where this kind of dangerous policy has worked in the past.

Jonathan Lustgarten, MD, is the past president of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society.
 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Edison

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 27, 12:15 PM

Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen, Edison

Wills and Estate Planning- Free Seminar

Education

Carousel_image_855652b94dad7cfd1c72_mini_magick20180618-30381-1j0t0jb

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Westfield Presbyterian Church, Westfield

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Education Health & Wellness

Edison Public Library Donation Drive for Edison Animal Shelter

June 5, 2018

The Edison Township Free Public Library is partnering with the Edison Animal Shelter to do a donation drive for the Edison Animal Shelter. There is a checklist of all items that are being accepted at the animal shelter. These checklists can be found above and the donation bins will be available at all three branches. We will be collecting items until the end of June. For more ...

New Brunswick Civic League Leader Still Looking for New Challenges After 48 Years at Helm

June 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - After 48 years of leading the charge for change in New Brunswick, Dr. C. Roy Epps can still be found quietly working on weekends in The Civic League of Greater New Brunswick offices.

The tireless commitment of the 77-year-old President and CEO of this non-profit has helped provide residents access to a variety of health, housing and education services over the ...

Applications to Rutgers Jump Nearly 10 Percent; Increase from Out-of-State Students

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from out-side New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Wardlaw+Hartridge Middle School Public Speaking Winners Announced

June 19, 2018

Wardlaw+Hartridge's Middle School held its public speaking finals in the Berry Performing Arts Center on May 24.

Congratulations to Jeni Lyn Vargas of Dunellen, who won the eighth-grade speech competition and the privilege to speak at the Stepping Up Ceremony on June 6, and David Ezra Flatau-Jones of Scotch Plains, who won the Streib Cup awarded to the best public speaker in the sixth ...

Small Business Ownership vs. Entrepreneurship

Written by: Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 6/18/2018

Tags: Business, Community, Crowdfunding, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business

Source: So, which are you – a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can ...