The plan ties health spending increases to overall economic growth and encourages more coordinated care.
Boston Globe: Mass. Lawmakers Pass Health Care Bill
Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a massive health care cost-control experiment Tuesday that they predicted will save billions of dollars over the next 15 years. But some industry leaders cautioned that it relies heavily on unproven tools to achieve the savings. The plan, which Governor Deval Patrick said he would sign into law, contains many of the most promising ideas for curbing health care costs. Legislators and the governor are counting on saving $200 billion through a first-in-the-nation statewide medical spending target tied to the overall growth of the state economy, a transition to a budget-minded payment system for hospitals and doctors, the growth of large provider organizations to coordinate care, and greater cost transparency for consumers (Kowalczyk and Conaboy, 8/1).
Boston Globe: Massachusetts Health Cost-Control Bill Contains First-In-Nation Fund For Prevention Programs
A coalition of consumer and public health groups praised the inclusion of money in the health cost-control bill adopted by lawmakers Tuesday to pay for programs to stem chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease that are fueling the growth of medical costs. The $60 million earmarked over the next four years for the Prevention and Wellness Trust, believed to be the first such state-based prevention fund in the nation, will be paid for by a tax on insurers and an assessment on some larger hospitals (Lazar, 8/1).
Kaiser Health News: Massachusetts Passes Health Cost Control Bill
The Massachusetts Legislature Tuesday passed the next phase of its ongoing attempt to reform the health care system: sweeping cost control legislation. Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, hailed the lawmakers' work saying, 'This is more than a good bill, a great bill'" (Bebinger, 7/31).
The New York Times: Massachusetts Aims To Cut Growth Of Its Health Costs
The Massachusetts legislature passed a first-in-the-nation bill on Tuesday that seeks to limit the growth of health care costs in the state. The bill would not allow spending on health care to grow any faster than the state's economy through 2017. For five years after that, any rise in health care costs would need to be half a percentage point lower than the increase in the state's gross domestic product (Goodnough, 7/31).
The Wall Street Journal: State Bill Limits Medical Spending
Health providers and insurers that miss targets must submit "performance improvement plans" to a new state body that can impose a civil penalty of up to $500,000 if the improvement plan isn't followed. Reaction was mixed. While saying the bill struck a "responsible balance" in part, the Massachusetts Medical Society, a doctors group, expressed concern about the "sustainability" of the spending targets. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a business group, said the bill could address "runaway health insurance premiums" (Levitz, 7/31).