Mass. health spending comes in below target
Health spending in Massachusetts last year stayed below the target set by state policymakers to keep medical bills from growing faster than the economy.
That’s according to the first report from the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis, an independent agency created by landmark legislation supported and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2012. The agency tracked the growth of health insurance and medical costs—including what Massachusetts patients paid from household budgets for copays, deductibles and coinsurance—and determined whether those costs accelerated more quickly than annual targets tied to the state’s economic growth. The results are good news for the state, which adopted the aggressive approach as health spending persistently rose 6% to 7% before and after the state expanded access to insurance coverage during the tenure of Gov. Mitt Romney, with a law considered as the template for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But the report sheds little light on what was responsible for the turnaround.
The state’s spending growth in 2013—2.3%—was more than 1 percentage point slower than its 3.6% target (the state’s projected economic growth) and also lower than the state’s 2.6% actual economic growth last year. And results in coming years could matter beyond its borders, as policymakers elsewhere consider their own attempts to hold health spending in check and debate how slow is slow enough. Total health spending in the state was $50.5 billion in 2013, or $7,550 a person.
The 2.3% growth in Massachusetts still exceeded the inflation rate of 1.5%. The modest spending growth also came at a time of record slow growth in national health spending.
Gov. Deval Patrick