Moses was a Wise Old Man

Every time I get a newsletter from Moses, I have to stop and figure out what, or who, Moses is.

It's the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists. Not the wise old guy we remember from Biblical times. But these guys, and I assume there's some distaff members too, seem pretty wise themselves.

A recent bulletin from them warned legislators that unless we make some changes in this state, this will be a really unhappy health care year in the Commonwealth.

They want us to cut health insurance costs and increase benefits. Now.

Moses reasons that cuts are due, because health care costs here are 25 percent above the national average, making Massachusetts costs highest in the country. And, highest in the world.

Moses also points out that prescription drug costs are 28 percent above the national average, making Massachusetts second highest in the country and the world.

And, if that's not enough, Moses claims that HMOs costs Massachusetts members a thousand dollars more than the national average, even though this state has the largest HMO enrollment in the U.S.

And, if you don't have insurance, you're not alone. Some 670,000 of your fellow citizens don't either.

One of the things about HMOs that really bothers me, as well as Moses, is the fact that HMOs give doctors bonuses--money, folks, money--for denying health care services to subscribers. So legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts to prevent so-called "incentive medicine."

We're not alone in considering this. At least nine other states have legislation pending to safeguard patients in managed care health plans, and regulate access to doctors, drugs and information.

It looks like the HMOs deserve a little more regulation. One, in Worcester, recently allegedly denied emergency care to a non-member. So we'll also be looking at legislation to require HMOs to provide emergency care to any citizen, regardless of insurance coverage.

Last year we passed legislation to prevent drive-through deliveries, forcing new mothers to take their babies home the day they're born. This year, I hope we ban drive-through mastectomies.

And I hope we follow through on some of Moses suggestions.

Moses simply asks that legislation be passed to assure citizens the care they deserve at reasonable prices.

This Moses seems as wise as the other one.

All materials copyright 1997 - 2014