“I’m Ready for Something to Change Here”

May 26, 2010
12:05 pm

Further dispelling the misconception that health industry leaders are opposed to health reform, one of the nation’s most respected health insurance executives, Vicky Gregg, the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, spoke to a Chattanooga audience yesterday about the need for system change.

She said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “You feel like you have been working all your career trying to make sure people get coverage, get care, and you keep in some ways, beating your head against a wall.”  Ms. Gregg said she hoped the new health reform law would achieve meaningful progress in improving both the cost and quality of healthcare.

Ms. Gregg did, however, sound a cautionary note – and a well-founded one, in my opinion – that is captured in the attached video.  As she noted, the health reform legislation passed by Congress includes more than 1000 instances in which various policy changes are left to the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  That means the success or failure of health reform will be determined, to a large degree, by the writing of rules and regulations to implement congressional legislation.  That process has just begun.

Vicky Gregg and her fellow panelists at the Chattanooga event make a number of very important points.  There is broad agreement on the need to make our system more affordable, to contain costs and to elevate quality.  There’s a lot of sorting out to do to determine if we’re on the right path to achieving those goals.

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