Posted: Sep 25, 2012 2:46 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Sep 25, 2012 2:47 PM
On Monday, gubernatorial candidates Rick Hill (R) and Steve Bullock (D) both addressed a group of healthcare stakeholders about what they will do to address the rising costs of healthcare.
Hill spoke first, talking about the importance of increasing access to primary care and expanding the patient centered medical homes model. He also says there are legislative ways to reduce the cost of healthcare.
"So if we want to begin to manage the cost side of the curve we need to make sure we are not wasting healthcare. Tort reform is a big part of that. We have to eliminate defensive medicine as one of the first things we do," Hill says.
Bullock told the group he too would support patient centered medical homes as they start to operate in Montana.
"We need to do more with prevention and wellness. There are great examples around the state and the country about the dollars that are invested in wellness programs to keep people healthy," Bullock says.
Bullock also says the state needs to do a better job collecting data, so they know exactly where the increasing costs are coming from.
The two candidates also answered questions about whether or not they would expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"I have serious concerns about the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies that are included in the Affordability Act. I just don't believe they are sustainable," Hill says.
Hill says the financial burden eventually falls to the State of Montana to pay for the increased number of people on Medicaid.
Bullock says the federal government hasn't provided enough information to states about how the expansion of Medicaid works, or how it's paid for. He says until they clarify those things he can't make a decision about whether or not to expand the program.
"We are communities are healthier when more people are covered. We as a state are healthier and wiser when more people are covered," Bullock says.
Both candidates agree that Medicaid provider rates need to increase, because doctors will stop seeing Medicaid patients if they don't.