Post Content

David_morales Posted by: David Morales, Commissioner, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy

Last week the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy convened unprecedented public hearings on health care cost trends in Massachusetts – a major step in moving the conversation about how we mitigate health care costs into concrete next steps that will result in deliberate action.

The next step is to digest both the written and oral testimony and the meaningful points raised during candid panel discussions and issue a final report. This report will include concrete recommendations to the Legislature on both short-term and long-term solutions to the health care cost problem that can be accomplished through both legislative and regulatory actions.

Hearing attendees heard from a variety of key stakeholders – national health policy experts, local leaders in the health care delivery system, employers, and consumers – as they wrestled with the various challenges related to health care cost growth. Conflicting viewpoints regarding the reasons for Massachusetts’ rapidly rising health care costs, as well as the solutions to the problem, made for a rich and lively debate.

There were also some key areas where a broad spectrum of stakeholders agreed, including calls for:

  • Immediate action to mitigate growth in health care costs;
  • Improvement in the coordination of care at all levels;
  • The passage of legislation that reforms the way we pay for health care in the state by moving away from the fee-for-service model (which rewards utilization, not quality) to one which rewards access to primary care;
  • Quick action to promote transparency in health care products, services and prices;
  • Market reforms to incent insurers and employers to offer select networks and flexible benefit products.

On the first day of the hearings, remarks by Governor Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray reminded those in attendance of the extraordinary leadership, commitment, and political will that the Commonwealth has from the Administration and the Legislature to support health care reform and to tackle health care costs with urgency.

These remarks were dove-tailed by presentations of research findings from the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Division of Insurance.

To round out day one, consumers and employers then shared stories about the real-life effects of the upward spiral of health care costs. These panelists made it clear that health reform is not the reason for our cost problem, rather the reasons are systemic issues that we must resolve by implementing strategies that will provide immediate relief to residents and businesses. More importantly, our actions must also lead to lasting, meaningful change in the Massachusetts health care system.

Lastly, thank you to all who participated in and attended the hearings last week for their thoughtful ideas, input, and partnership as the Commonwealth seeks to tackle this important public policy challenge.

Please also see this post:
David Morales, Commissioner, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, WBUR, CommonHealth Blog, Wednesday, March 24, 2010
http://commonhealth.wbur.org/guest-contributors/2010/03/next-step-concrete-solutions-to-cut-health-care-costs/

Written By:

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Posts

Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference posted on Jul 25

Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference

In the six years from 2008 through 2013, 356 workers died on the job in Massachusetts.  This is about one worker every five days!  The MDPH CFOI and MA FACE projects developed this infographic to illustrate these tragic worker deaths and to underscore the human costs   …Continue Reading Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference

Making Your Summer POP! posted on Jul 19

Making Your Summer POP!

Few things are better than an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day!  I have vivid memories from my childhood running around through the sprinkler and various neighbors’ yards enjoying the summer sun.  At that age, having a messy red ring around your mouth from   …Continue Reading Making Your Summer POP!

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces posted on Jul 18

Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces

Wellness programs are good for business. They can lead to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and decreased healthcare and insurance costs. Now, small businesses can be rewarded for these efforts! The Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive gives small businesses in Massachusetts a state tax credit   …Continue Reading Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces