Health care costs escalated by $1B per year, leaving schools dramatically underfunded according to a report from the Boston Foundation (“Health Care Costs Drain State Aid for Schools”, Boston Globe December 9, 2010). The outcome may be “trimming employee health benefits” along with major spending cuts in education. This comes on the heels of reports that education in the U.S. ranks 25th in the world, 14th in reading.

Paul Toner, President of the Mass. Teachers Association, is quoted as saying “whatever the solutions is, we have to have meaningful participation in future decisions over health care costs”.

How should this be addressed? Health care costs are driven by both health care providers as well as patients. Solutions will need to include thoughtful use of health care resources that involves informed decision making between the patient and their doctor, healthier patient lifestyles, and improved understanding of a patient’s care plan to health.