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State launches effort to rein in health care costs

Governor John Carney signed legislation on Thursday (September 7, 2017) that will allow Delaware to better control the growing cost of health care — which is eating up 30 percent of the state's budget and on track to double in the next decade. 
According to a September 7, 2017 News Journal article, “Bottom line is: If we don’t do something, the state will go bankrupt because of health care," said Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker.

State officials believe a benchmark rate will help reduce health care costs while providing better care for residents. A benchmark rate would cap overall health spending growth.

Delaware is third in the country for how much it spends on health care per capita but is still considered one of the more sicker states due to the percentage of people with chronic conditions.

At the rate it's going, total health care spending will double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025, officials said. Within the state's budget, healthcare spending has increased by $480 million in the last five years.

Right now, the growth rate is on track to be about 6 percent, she said. The benchmark could reduce the rate to be anywhere between 2 to 5 percent.

The state will work with hospitals, insurers, and providers to figure out the best way to determine and implement the benchmark.

By doing so, officials say some of the money now dedicated to health care costs in the state budget can go toward needed improvements in areas such as education, economic development, and public safety. Read the entire article.