CELEBRATING 100 Years: Rate Review Program
As the ‘70s began, a new phenomenon surfaced in Wisconsin and throughout the nation. It was the early focus on health care costs and the desire to monitor and control them.
Also during that period, health care was rapidly becoming a more politically-sensitive issue.
In Wisconsin, the growing concern by government and the public over health care costs led to the creation of the Wisconsin Hospital Rate Review Program. It was started in 1972 as a joint project of Blue Cross of Wisconsin and WHA. In 1976, the State of Wisconsin became the third partner, at a ceremony with Governor Pat Lucey.
The Rate Review drama unfolded monthly in meetings at the Blue Cross office in Milwaukee. Behind the scenes, countless hours of WHA member and staff time were devoted to discussing and negotiating a seemingly endless array of issues.
Similar systems were created throughout the country, with more than 30 states adopting some form of hospital rate setting regulations. But that’s far from the end of the story - the 1980s saw a movement away from strict government regulations and the unanticipated complexities of the program. Read next week’s “Celebrating 100” to see this example of how WHA’s advocacy is often focused on the long-term, adapting to support its members as political and policy changes happen.
This story originally appeared in the July 16, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter