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Healthcare bailout: Who is this helping?

Posted Jan 18 2009 2:41am
H ealthcare gets its bailout. A whopping $144 billion to shore up Medicaid, $30 billion to improve COBRA insurance coverage, $50 billion to help healthcare organizations to adopt EMRs by 2014, and the left over change -billion here billion there went into wellness programs and community health centers. Physician recruitment and training got the nod for $600 million, and last but no least a few hundred million went to renovate ailing buildings of the Indian health service. Nothing that I saw was slated to improve nursing recruitment or retention or other nursing programs.

Looks as if much of this will provide assistance to payers and little if any has been allocated to improve access to care or help hospitals develop expansion projects or clinical programs to meet the growing care demands of the public. If $30 billion has been set aside for COBRA insurance coverage, how has this been allocated? Has the coverage broadened in someway to cover additional services? Is the allocation designed to lower the premium costs so that those that have lost their employer based insurance can afford COBRA? If the money is only going to widen the coverage the cost of COBRA will still be out of reach for many. Not much added value if that is the case. From where I sit it seems that the elements of healthcare that really need the help aren't getting it.
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