Dr. Joseph Molina, 53, believes solving the healthcare problem is paramount to fixing the economy.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” says Molina. “We’ve got a problem and that problem is that healthcare is too expensive in this country.”
Molina is the president and CEO of Molina Healthcare, Inc., a healthcare organization that provides government sponsored healthcare programs to low-income families and that has health clinics across the country. Her father — also a physician– started the business 32 years ago in the hopes of serving underprivileged communities without access to health insurance.
“There’s a tremendous number of people in this country without insurance and a large portion of it is still Latino,” says Molina.
The company, founded in 1980 by Dr. Carlos Molina in Long Beach, Calif., was created around the idea that uninsured patients could cut costs incurred at the emergency room by having access to preventative care and to a physician who was familiar with his or her health history.
What started with three primary health clinics soon expanded to other locations and eventually into a full-on health plan. First listed on Fortune Magazine’s 1000 largest U.S. corporations in 2006, the company was then named the largest Hispanic Business in America in terms of revenue and growth by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2010, and this year was listed on Fortune’s 500 list.
Much like a game of touchdown football, Molina says the lack of coordination in the health care system that leads to a lack of communication, is the cause for losing the game. This leads to higher costs that stem from unnecessary testing and duplicate services, he says. This, too, was his father’s philosophy.
“Years ago doctors would have their own practice and run it much like a family business, but times have changed,” he says. “Today, with the tremendous amount of technology, drugs and the teams of people it requires to treat patients, it’s the lack of organization that creates the problem.”
Molina says the high cost of health insurance is weakening American businesses and that because insurance companies are not being held accountable, it’s important that the way healthcare is paid for changes.
“It’s going to take much more than simply passing a law,” Molina says in reference to the Affordable Healthcare Act. “It’s going to require that the whole industry change and that’s going to take time and it’s going to take the involvement of the entire healthcare industry because somebody can lay down the foundation but we still have to build it.”