Health Care

Hospital pricing deliberations begin

Hospital pricing deliberations begin

Outcome uncertain as commission’s 22 members start talking

THE 22 MEMBERS OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSION set up to address unwarranted price variation among the state’s health care providers held their first meeting on Tuesday, with one of the cochairs jokingly saying it felt like an episode of Survivor. The commission was created earlier this year as part of a deal to head off(...)

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Mass. health care spending up 3.9%

Mass. health care spending up 3.9%

MassHealth and pharmaceutical costs drive increase above benchmark

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE Spending on health care in Massachusetts rose to $57.2 billion in 2015, growing more slowly than in 2014 but for the second straight year outpacing the benchmark set under a 2012 cost containment law, according to a new state report. The 3.9 percent growth in total health care spending, estimated in(...)

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Baker pushes health care competition

Baker pushes health care competition

DPH commissioner helping to lead the way

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is showing signs that it wants to get more aggressive about encouraging greater competition between health care providers. Monica Bharel, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, is sending the strongest signals. Her agency is preparing to issue new regulations next week that will spell out how the state will handle(...)

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Prison is no place to treat mentally ill

Prison is no place to treat mentally ill

Bridgewater State should be run by Dept. of Mental Health

IN APRIL, LEO MARINO, a 43-year-old man with a long history of suicide attempts, killed himself in an isolation unit at Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH). He’d managed to choke himself with a large amount of wet, wadded-up toilet paper – materials that staffers made readily available to him despite the fact he tried to end(...)

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Irony abounds in health agency cuts

Sure, if you’re highlighting irony in this irony-filled world of ours, the easy stop is Cleveland, where the opening night of a GOP convention that is about to nominate a man who suggests Barack Obama is a cop killer-sympathizing Muslim turncoat featured that man’s wife delivering a heartfelt speech about her husband that cribbed heavily(...)

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Obama, Clinton and the new public-option debate

Obama, Clinton and the new public-option debate

Paucity of competition in some state exchanges opens door to revisiting public health plans

THE ERA OF Democratic silence on strengthening and improving the Affordable Care Act is officially over. President Obama’s tour de force review of the ACA’s successes in the new Journal of the American Medical Association is also important for his identification of key ACA improvements needed on insurance affordability, Medicaid, prescription drug prices and more.(...)

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The art of the non-deal deal

The art of the non-deal deal

Health care ballot showdown averted, but pricing issue remains

ON MAY 31, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a new law to avert a proposed 2016 state ballot initiative that would have redistributed as much as $450 million annually from Partners HealthCare hospitals to most of the state’s other hospitals by establishing stringent limits on hospital price variation. The new law, “Chapter 115, An act relative to(...)

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House GOP health care plan is an empty backpack

House GOP health care plan is an empty backpack

Ryan's failed effort at a replacement for Affordable Care Act

THIS WEEK, US House Speaker Paul Ryan released a long-promised plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Most of the plan, “A Better Way: Health Care,” developed by a House task force, includes familiar ideas that have been in Republican rhetoric even prior to the ACA. Coverage of the plan’s basics can be found here(...)

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Children’s Hospital expansion won’t cut costs

Children’s Hospital expansion won’t cut costs

Actually, it shifts costs to private-pay patients

IN 2008, A SEMINAL ARTICLE was published in Health Affairs by Donald M. Berwick, Thomas W. Noland, and John Whittington, entitled “The Triple Aim: Care, Health, And Cost.” Its conclusions are foundational to much of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and also to much of the work undertaken in recent years by many of(...)

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Could breakup of Partners be way to go?

Could breakup of Partners be way to go?

A Mass General, Brigham divorce could make sense

WITH GOV. CHARLIE BAKER now having signed off on the legislative deal to avoid the SEIU ballot initiative which would have drastically taken commercial insurance monies away from Partners HealthCare, one wonders just how invested he is in any proposed “real” policy solutions coming out of the newly created special commission to review variation in(...)

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