I come from a labor family several generations long, so issues affecting the labor and trust community are close to my heart. Containing the rising cost of health care, which has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a big concern for frontline workers and their families, union members, and the employers who support them.
One of the most promising initiatives to rein in costs is Assembly Bill 1130, part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed Office of Health Care Affordability. The new agency would lead strategy to contain healthcare costs in California, setting targets for affordability with accountability.
As the legislature debated the passing of this bill, Blue Shield of California presented in favor of it, noting a trend in health care in which premiums are rising faster than wage growth. Blue Shield of California’s vision for health reform emphasizes reducing costs, expanding coverage, and enhancing quality.
Having such deep roots in the labor community personally and professionally, I am inspired to see Blue Shield of California standing alongside the California Labor Federation, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and other major labor organizations and health groups in support of the bill.
Another major policy Blue Shield of California is supporting alongside labor is the creation of a healthcare data sharing mandate, which is captured in Senate Bill 133. The law will require all hospitals, health plans, and providers to share complete patient data in a standardized, real-time manner. Not only will this policy break down these barriers to make care delivery more timely, accurate and efficient, it will empower the system to better address public health crises and health equity gaps. From the simple example of making sure the emergency room doctor has your health history to leveraging the data to make approvals happen more quickly, this policy is vitally important.
What are your thoughts?
I’d like to hear from you. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the labor community in the wake of COVID-19? Please contact me via LinkedIn or directly at Tera.email@example.com.
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Tera Clizbe is the vice president and general manager of Labor & Trust at Blue Shield of California. She has 20+ years of experience in the healthcare industry and is a proud member of a labor family.