God, And Health Care Costs

As hospitals, doctors, insurers and lawmakers grapple over what steps are necessary to rein in health care costs, another sector is stepping into the fray: organized religion.

WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports that the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, a group that played a key role in creating and promoting the state’s health reform law back in 2006, is now organizing a campaign on controlling health costs. Two dozen representatives of the organization are now in training to lead the campaign. Their goal is to educate and engage a wide spectrum of consumers in various religious communities, and to convince them that this is a policy discussion worth joining.

These representatives of various churches, synagogues and mosques have given up 10 evenings since December to hear from the Massachusetts Medical Society, Partners HealthCare, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other leading health care organizations. These “students” hold 3’’ binders with Power Point presentations, their notes and homework.

Alliea Groupp, who co-chairs GBIO’s health care cost campaign, sets the agenda for Monday night’s meeting. “Where we are tonight is to take all those conversations and come in and try to figure out where we are in this, where we stand,” Groupp said.

She calls on Kidder, who is skeptical about the chances of both reducing costs and increasing quality.

“Do we all really think that that’s possible?” Kidder asked. “Have we repealed the law of ‘you get what you pay for.’”

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