Health­care over­haul bill eas­ily passes in Mass. Se­nate

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

The Mas­sachusetts Se­nate quickly passed leg­is­la­tion that would take dra­matic steps to over­haul the way health­care is paid for in the state and ag­gres­sively con­trol the growth in how much it costs. Both cham­bers of the Mas­sachusetts Leg­is­la­ture this month in­tro­duced am­bi­tious and broadly sim­i­lar bills aimed at get­ting a han­dle on health­care spend­ing in the state, which has been the fo­cus of na­tional at­ten­tion since en­act­ing a sweep­ing health re­form law in 2006. The Se­nate bill, passed 35-2, would set a goal for the rise in health­care spend­ing at the growth rate in the state’s over­all econ­omy plus 0.5% through 2015, and pegged to the state’s eco­nomic growth (mea­sured by the gross state prod­uct, or GSP) be­gin­ning in 2016. The leg­is­la­tion also would sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of “Bea­con ACOS” and push the in­dus­try away from feefor-ser­vice pay­ment. All state-funded health­care pro­grams, in­clud­ing Med­i­caid, would move to new pay­ment method­olo­gies by 2014. The state’s Di­vi­sion of Health Care Fi­nance & Pol­icy would be re­or­ga­nized as an in­de­pen­dent agency charged with over­see­ing the health­care in­dus­try. Law­mak­ers es­ti­mate the mea­sures will save $150 bil­lion over 15 years. The House leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced this month would set a spend­ing bench­mark be­low the growth rate in the econ­omy and re­quire pri­vate in­sur­ers to move away from fee-for-ser­vice pay­ment by 2015. Gov. De­val Pa­trick said in a speech last week that the spe­cific growth tar­get is a “sub­ject for fair de­bate” but that set­ting a bench­mark above the GSP “just post­pones the day when health­care is all we can af­ford to buy.”

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