The Class of 2020 will enter a world of uncertainty, and as I listened to virtual commencement speeches over the weekend, I pondered the healing we need for ourselves and for our communities in the days ahead. The global pandemic has further exposed the inequalities we already knew existed.
At the Quality Institute, we’ve long worked to create communities where all people can live their healthiest lives. Thank you for joining us in this mission. We need you now more than ever.
The numbers tell of a daunting story ahead. According to recent estimates from Health Management Associates, a Quality Institute member, Medicaid enrollment in New Jersey between 2020 and 2022 may increase anywhere from 279,000 to 646,000 people, on top of the already 1.7 million people. The added cost to the state could reach somewhere between $137 million to $1.153 billion.
The subsidized Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual market, meanwhile, could grow by 31,000 to 113,000 lives. Relatedly, 300,000 to 960,000 people could lose their employer sponsored health insurance plans.
More people will depend on government-financed health care at a time when government budgets are hurting. And this moment will come when we desperately need access to affordable and safe health care.
We will need to address our state’s dwindling coffers and still pay for essential health care. Our heroes on the frontlines, and those forced to shutter their medical and dental facilities during the early months of this pandemic, are facing economic ruin. We want to do what is right for everyone.
Clinicians are stressed for themselves, but even more stressed because their patients are too afraid to come in for care that is vital to their health. We will only get through a pandemic if we are all as healthy as possible and all getting preventive and regular care, especially vaccinations.
Rebuilding and redesigning our health care system is going to take mutual sacrifice across our entire health care system. The sacrifices may mean cost containment all around, lifting certain regulations and imposing new ones, expanding scopes of practices and sites of care, among other possibilities. Every idea must be on the table — as long as it leads to healing.
During these unprecedented times we’ve needed your insight and ideas as we developed resources for providers, payers and patients. We just released the Work Group Recommendations on Perinatal Care During COVID-19. Other work group resources are coming out soon. In the meantime, please use and share our COVID Resources for Telehealth; Prescription Assistance Programs; and Enrolling in Medicaid or the ACA, all of which can be found here in our coronavirus resources.
We look forward to working with you through this process of system redesign and healing. At the Quality Institute, we know our strength comes from our members; we create our best work when we bring all your voices together. Please know that as our member you have a virtual seat at our table. Even as we remain in the midst of this pandemic, we need to start planning for our post-pandemic world. I look forward to hearing from you as we move forward and heal.