Another Stab at Health Benefit Reform in NJ

sweeney - barr
Anticipating the release of a study commission report on public benefits in New Jersey that would recommend either curtailing those benefits or making public employees pay more for them union-backed Democrats trotted out a plan that Dr. James Barr, chief medical officer of Optimus Health Care Partners ACO and ready to see patients upon exiting the podium, sees as viable since:

“We’re not treating diseases. We’re not treating members.  We’re not treating numbers. We’re treating people,” Barr said. “And these people have concerns, fears, cultures, beliefs, financial and social situations that impact their health. And if we don’t learn that, if we don’t have a relationship them, we’re never going to be able to help them to the degree that we need to.”

He is dangerously wrong.

All of the doctors I know do treat diseases, members, and people though some get paid more for it than others. However there is a vast army of people (ranging from George Norcross statewide to Hale Insurance in Union County) who primarily treat numbers and they share some of their gains with the politicians they support, and sometimes even pick, which is why their interests are protected.

The alternative plan reportedly consists of:

creating a new “patient-centered” health care system similar to one that exists in Vermont, and that would provide better service to patients and ultimately save money.  He pitched it as an alternative to the idea that saving money on health care should center around requiring workers to pay more or cutting benefits. “We’ve heard the cost of health care is too expensive and is out of control,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said. “What we’re looking to do today is to start work on a concept that will actually improve care and reduce costs. I know that’s hard to believe, but it is doable – it is very possible to get done.”

The three-year pilot program would pay doctors a set base salary and a bonus for good clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. The idea, Sweeney said, is to do away with a “fee for service” model in which doctors have incentives to as many patients as possible.  It would be implemented in four or five New Jersey locations, for up to 60,000 public employees.

It’s a silly idea that only gets proposed when the obvious real solutions go against the personal financial interests of the reform proponents.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Titon7 on February 12, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Norcross has written enough policy to line his pockets with a “republican” governor.


    • Posted by on February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Norcross .. “A prominent Democratic power broker and political fundraiser, he’s a close political ally of state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester.”


  2. Posted by Javagold on February 12, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Each doctor will have 1000 patients and on call 24/7. On salary. Hahaha.

    Did a high school dropout come up with this math ??


  3. Posted by Tough Love on February 12, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Sounds great…. but because RARELY does any savings that politicians propose materialize, let’s protect the taxpayers and CAP NJ’s future expenditures at say 50% of current expenditures.

    After the Taxpayers hit that cap in any year, the taxpayers stop paying and 100% of ALL additional expenditures are the responsibility of those receiving the services.

    Deal ?


  4. No deal, it make 0 sense, these are flesh and blood human beings, most are
    elderly and deserve better, they worked for it and deserve it.
    Would you want this for your parents ?


    • Posted by Tough Love on February 13, 2015 at 1:49 am

      Did they work harder than Private Sector workers who RARELY get ANY employer-sponsored retiree healthcare subsidy?

      Why should THEY pay for yours ?


  5. Where are the savings coming from? Will the employees be paying more towards their health plan or will it be a lesser health plan that costs less to the taxpayers? I’m confused…..


  6. Posted by Eric on February 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Tough Love:
    We need a single payer system where everyone is covered regardless of one’s work. In Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. every person receives excellent medical coverage and never has to wonder if it is the correct policy. There is no waiting. There are no lines. The doctors are extremely bright and are young. The technology is state of the art. The medical system is far better than what is available in this country. There is not even any paperwork for any of the patients to bring with them. There are no copays and there are no EOB forms. There are no deductibles.
    The US is far too corrupt to implement such a wonderful system since the insurance companies have a strange hold over Obama and Hilliary and of course each republican would not even dare mention single payer!
    The citizens here are far too dumb to know any better. As a result we are Third World.


    • Posted by Tough Love on February 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Quoting … “We need a single payer system where everyone is covered regardless of one’s work.”

      I agree completely, and it should be income-tax funded. The only thing I would add is that is we, as a country, cannot afford a “Cadillac” Plan for all. A coverage level (i.e. what the Gov’t will pay for) must be set as some % of GDP, etc.. Call it rationing (or “killing grandma” if you will) but we WASTE a ridiculous amount of money extending the lives of the terminally ill for a few (miserable) weeks or months.

      And the flaws of the current system extend to the providers of care as well as the insurance companies and the politicians. Doctors & facilities has mastered the art of providing multiple (often unneeded) “procedures” just to jack up the fees they can charge.


      • Posted by Anonymous on February 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        this is an issue where TL and I agree on. Almost never happens. Lol.
        She is dEad Right. The amount of $ wasted on fraud and unneeded tests is staggering.


        • Posted by Tough Love on February 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

          Now if you would only see the reasonableness and fairness of EQUAL Public/Private Sector employer-funded pensions & benefits.


  7. Posted by Eric on February 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    We all agree, however, the politicians are completely bought off by the insurance companies. Perhaps we can give the insurance companies checks in lieu of them buying our “representatives.”


    • Posted by Tough Love on February 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      I disagree, When you hear about the abuses or the Norcrosses and such, they are NOT the “insurance companies”. They are Private insurance “brokers” who sell insurance company products via their privately owned insurance Brokerage Companies. The brokers are indeed in bed with the politicians and the Unions.


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