Monday, February 14, 2011

Health care is subject One for local company leaders

After eating breakfast Thursday morning, local business leaders chewed on a problem that affects every company, individual and family in the state: the astronomical price of American health care and the particularly high cost in Massachusetts.
"Health care costs are probably the single biggest issue facing the commonwealth today," said speaker Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, at the Century House in Acushnet.
In the past, "common financial advice was you should reserve 25 percent of your income for your housing costs," Dreyfus said. "No one ever told us that another 25 percent should be reserved for health care."
Along with many others, Dreyfus was joined at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce's "Good Morning SouthCoast!" meeting by Southcoast Health System officials, with whom Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has been locked in ongoing contract negotiations for months.
"We believe we will reach an agreement soon. I'm very optimistic," Dreyfus said of the continuing discussions over reimbursement rates for care at St. Luke's, Tobey and Charlton Memorial hospitals. "The conversations have been positive, productive."
Southcoast spokeswoman Joyce Brennan, likewise, reported progress and sai

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