Monday, October 12, 2009

Comments on healthcare help guide legislation

Bluffton Today

It has been “all hands on deck” this last week at your legislative office. We received more than 750 calls and emails during this period, an extremely high number for a non-session week. Once again, I asked for your help and you responded.

As for my request for information or a contact person on small businesses looking to relocate, your help has resulted in a load of “actionable intelligence.” Those leads have been passed along to the appropriate agents and contacts are already being made. My thinking on this jobs challenge is that we need to turn over every rock to find the businesses that are the right fit for Beaufort County and District 118. We are utilizing the entire bandwidth of possibilities from calling good locally generated leads, to supporting the good work of Kim Statler and the Lowcountry Economic Network, as well as leveraging my position as chairman of the Economic Development Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee to insure positive attention from the South Carolina Dept. of Commerce. On a meta level, my efforts on the Jasper Port are essentially about jobs, even if those jobs that may be years down the road.

The real call generator, however, was my request for you to send your ideas and suggestions on how we can improve efficiency and lower costs in our current healthcare delivery system. I wanted to hear your stories and benefit from your experiences, and we heard from you loud and clear.

However, there were so many of you that called, we were unable to get a good record of your ideas. I need for you to either email me or write me a letter or note detailing your preferences. Here’s why this is important:

My participation at the Alliance of Health Plans annual healthcare conference will not be passive. I’m not just going to show up, get a badge, and quietly listen to all the new and innovative things the health insurance folks have come up with. I want to arrive prepared to address areas of your concern when it comes to what our health insurance dollars purchase. I want to represent your ideas for reducing or eliminating as much of the waste and seemingly intentional aggravation that we often suffer at the hands of some insurers. For this to happen, we need to be able to organize your information into meaningful statistics, charts and graphs and be able to present it not only to the sponsors of the meeting, but other attendees as well. If we cannot help the health insurance industry do a better, more cost-efficient job of allocating the massive number of dollars they collect from us, I fear that the current reform efforts under way at the federal level will ultimately undermine the viability of the private health insurance industry. The surest way to protect the system is to help the managers understand that questionable business practices and an unsustainable pricing structure do not produce good value for either customers or shareholders.

The streetscaping in Old Town Bluffton is drawing to a close with only a few areas left to finish up. Things are looking great and should be squared away in time for the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, which is coming up the 18th to the 25th of October.