Cover everybody: Hudson Health Plan CEO Georganne Chapin believes managed care can evolve with universal coverage

August 1, 2006

Not many CEOs would wish for a massive upheaval in their industries. Georganne Chapin, president and CEO of Hudson Health Plan (HHP), minces no words when she says the United States should transition to universal coverage, and HHP, a not-for-profit managed-care Medicaid plan that covers 60,000 members in New York state, should evolve to play a new role.

Not many CEOs would wish for a massive upheaval in their industries. Georganne Chapin, president and CEO of Hudson Health Plan (HHP), minces no words when she says the United States should transition to universal coverage, and HHP, a not-for-profit managed-care Medicaid plan that covers 60,000 members in New York state, should evolve to play a new role.

"We don't need more programs; we need fewer programs that cover more people," she says. "We don't need more categories of coverage or more limitations on the period of time people can be covered."

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"We jokingly call it the 'cult of Cover Everybody,' but it's hardly a cult, and it's hardly radical," she says. "I think it's amazing that this is considered a radical concept when most of the world covers everybody, and everybody needs to be covered."

She says continuous universal coverage is needed-not just more programs to cover the uninsured-because the longer the United States goes without it, the more likely the country's economy will implode. While the working poor represent many of the uninsured, an increasing segment of middle-class America has joined the ranks. Americans who contribute to society, such as entrepreneurs, freelance writers, artists and small-business owners, for example, are changing not just their lines of work but their lives specifically because they can't afford the health coverage they need. Even short coverage gaps for those who are changing jobs or moving can result in health decline and higher associated costs.