A healthcare reform package proposed by Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty, a Republican, would expand current efforts to measure and report hospital quality and perhaps lay the groundwork for increased regulation of health plans' reimbursement to providers. The largest elements of the proposal, however, would be a prescription drug plan for needy residents modeled after a controversial program in Maine and a state-sponsored health plan to help small businesses afford the cost of insuring workers. Like the Maine program, Fogarty's plan would take advantage of state purchasing power to reduce drug prices. In a summary of the plan on his Web site, Fogarty said, "Overall, (Rhode Island) hospitals are doing extremely well (on quality) when compared to the hospitals nationwide. However, we should strive to meet the standards 100% of the time." The possibility of a "strengthened regulatory role in rate setting and provider reimbursement for health plans" also should be considered and studied, Fogarty said. -- by Jeff Tieman
Correction, Dec. 5, 2003
The political affiliation of Lieutenant Gov. Charles Fogarty was stated incorrectly. Fogarty is a Democrat.