A new way to hold down health care for the aging?

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Greg Peck
February 7, 2013

Wisconsin politicians are in a debate over whether to expand Medicaid, which offers health coverage for poor people.

Likewise, politicians in Washington are debating whether our economy and Obamacare can afford the costs of caring for our rapidly aging population.

So I found intriguing a story out of Minneapolis on Sunday’s Health page. It told how paramedics make house calls to dozens of patients as part of an innovative program to keep the frail and elderly out of emergency rooms.

Instead of responding to emergencies, these paramedics assist by, for example, doing blood tests, calling on Meals on Wheels or helping arrange for wheelchair ramps. The story by Maura Lerner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune said Minnesota has become the testing center of this community paramedic movement, and advocates say it could save a fortune by keeping patients out of hospitals.

Do you think the idea has merits?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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