MA and cost controls

In 2012 this bill, An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation. was passed as the next step in reform and addresses cost control measures that are not part of the national conversation.

Healthblawg offers a synopsis:

1.    The health care cost growth rate may not exceed growth of the “gross state product” (GSP) for five years, and must be between the GSP and .5% below the GSP for the next five.

2.    Certification programs for Patient Centered Medical Homes andAccountable Care Organizations.

3.    Transparency and accountability for cost and quality.

4.    Investment in wellness and in community hospitals.5.    Med-mal reform including a 6-month coooling off period and inadmissibility of medical apologies in court proceedings.The full text of the bill, and a summary, are set forth below.  It’s been a long haul, and this Part III of Massachsuetts health reform was kicked off by Governor Deval Patrick almost 18 months ago.

A return to central health planning?  Not quite, but certainly more heavily regulated than things are at the moment. Is that a bad thing?  Well, consider how the free-market approach has been working out: overall, we’ve seen a high-cost, low-quality experience (relatively speaking) that could use some help. Is this new law the panacea we need? Too soon to tell. But we surely cannot stick with the status quo.

MA Health Care Reform Bill – Summary

Items to date also include:

1. To explore where there is waste in the system by the one year old Health Policy Commission, such as in overuse of diagnostic tests or per cent of re-admissions into hospitals.

2. Explore alternatives to the fee for service model.

3. To regulate the consolidation of service providers. MA and medical cost controls begins the process as Partner’s Healthcare (for example) seeks to own larger parts of our medical care organizations.

4. To promote more transparency in pricing and expected costs for patients…one part being a website that provides such information on expected costs.

The large threat I see to lowering the cost of healthcare besides the services for fees cost model is the consolidation of healthcare with hospitals and clinics. Rusty has talked about this and Run has posted on it earlier at On the Horizon After Obamacare. It appears the state is putting in the controls necessary to limit the share of the market place controlled by one institute or group which buy out the smaller segments.