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Globe: Mass. Payment Reform Plans — And Debates — Under Way

This article is more than 12 years old.
JudyAnn Bigby
JudyAnn Bigby

You had to really root around on today to turn up Rob Weisman's significant story on how the newly re-elected governor of Massachusetts plans to forge ahead with the next phase of health care reform: cost control.

But it's there, and it's worth reading, because the ball is already rolling, and it's clearly headed for some rough terrain. Deval Patrick promised during his campaign that his first task upon re-taking office would be to bring health costs under control, and now, Rob reports, the country will be watching his efforts:

As the governor’s lieutenants draft a bill on payment overhaul to submit to the Legislature in January, representatives of medical care providers, insurers, employers, and consumers met yesterday to try to craft a workable cost-control plan. The group was convened by JudyAnn Bigby, state secretary of health and human services, even before Patrick was reelected to a second term Tuesday.

Bigby said yesterday that the stakeholders group has yet to reach consensus on issues such as whether a board is needed to oversee a new payment system, what authority such a panel would have, and what outcomes it would monitor. The group is also debating a regulatory framework for how health care providers can form alliances, called accountable care organizations, under a new system.

“The biggest area of concern is over whether to regulate the price of health care,’’ Bigby said. The disagreement on the payment committee, she said, is “between those who don’t want the price of health care to be regulated and those who say you can’t make sure health costs are controlled unless you regulate the price.’’

This program aired on November 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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