Health care forum looks at insuring workers

Health care forum looks at insuring workers
By: Mike Shain

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Businesses and workers are hearing many ideas about health care reform.
The issue is being discussed in Washington, state capitols and in Cape Girardeau.
Southeast Missouri State hosted a forum on the issue.
Thursday's forum at SEMO heard about a new approach to insuring workers.
Mayor Jay Knudtson told the gathering this area has a crisis and must do something about it.
State Representative Jason Crowell says forums like this will provide answers.
"Sixty million dollars is going to be put to federally qualified health care centers like we have right here in southeast Missouri with Crosstrails and the SEMO Health Network," Crowell said.
Action is coming from the state level.  Doctor John Kraemer of Southeast Missouri State is involved in an asthma education program.
"We've been able to see reductions in visits to the ER and unexpected visits to their physicians drop dramatically for our case group which is our children who have asthma," Kraemer said.
That means better health for kids and major savings in health care costs.
Rita Needham represents some employers in southwest Missouri who've joined together to insure workers and achieve savings.
"In our particular health care consortium we have 32 companies coming together ranging in size from three employees to 500," Needham said. "Six of those 32 companies had never before been able to offer health care for their employees."
Needham says the pool, reduced insurance rates 25 to 35 percent. That same coopereative approach has been made law in Missouri and is available to employer groups statewide.