Gov. Patrick Urges Changes In Health Care

BOSTON — It’s a big problem, it’s complicated and we have to solve it now. That’s the message Gov. Deval Patrick wanted to impart at a State House hearing on one of his top priorities: getting control of rising health care costs.

“I know that the members understand and share this sense of urgency and I thank you all for that,” Patrick said at the hearing. “The challenge before us is big but we cannot be defeated by that. We’ve solved problems like this before and we can do it again.”

Lawmakers heard from the governor, his top lieutenants and a wide variety of doctors, employers, hospital leaders and consumers Monday.

All of them, WBUR’s Martha Bebinger told All Thing’s Considered’s Sacha Pfeiffer, were debating the strengths and weaknesses of Patrick’s plan.

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  • http://twitter.com/josharchambault Josh Archambault

    The issues of greatest concern from the Governor’s bill are:

    1)    The Heavy Hand of and Role of Regulation: The 26 + instances in which
    major policy decisions are left to be made in the regulatory process.

    2)Accountable Care Organizations or Bust: The over reliance of the
    proposal on Accountable Care Organizations while the data on cost savings and
    health outcomes is mixed at best, and nonexistent for many quality measures.

    3)Where is the Consumer?: The lack of serious engagement of consumers with decision making
    tools and financial incentives to empower them to be better consumers of both
    health insurance and health care services.

    4) Timing & Expectations: The realistic timeframe for reform to have a
    reductionary impact in health care spending is at least 5-10 years, with an
    increase in spending likely in the short term. In other words, the Governor’s
    plan is a long term play. These reforms will mean little to small employers
    that are seeing double digit premium increases for the third or fourth year
    now, and that trend will not change under this plan.

    5)Medicaid: The Medicaid program accounts for over 30 percent of the state
    budget, and is crowding out spending on other public goods and providing
    suboptimal access to health care services for the population served. From a
    state budget perspective, any health care spending containment strategy must
    tackle reforming this program.

    See More on the Pioneer Blog: http://bit.ly/jkwrpe

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