Two unique models for caring for the uninsured and underinsured are operating in Maryland. The first is a group practice, primary care model with a unique ambulatory Medicare waiver that has had a positive impact on patients and physicians. The second is a financial model—an all-payer prospective rate-setting system for all critical care inpatient hospitals that, during a 13-year period from 1977 through 1989, has saved the citizens of the state approximately $5.361 billion, has allowed hospitals to provide $1.657 billion of charity care and bad debts, and has earned $517 million in net profits. The reasons for the success of each of the models are discussed and form the basis for a practical and politically feasible proposal: merge the best aspects of each model into an ambulatory primary care—based model financed through an all-payer prospective charge system.
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