Health Care

Humira, a money-making machine, rolls on

Humira, a money-making machine, rolls on

Profit trumps patients in Abbvie-Amgen deal

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED that US healthcare expenditures are dramatically higher than any other developed country by all measures. The total amount spent, the per capita cost, and the percentage of GDP consumed by healthcare are the highest here even though health outcomes are average and access is far from universal. The reasons for this(...)

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Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Bill cautiously lays groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight

A WORKING GROUP of the Massachusetts Senate unveiled health care legislation on Tuesday that promotes the treatment of patients in more cost-effective settings while laying the groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight of hospital readmissions and payments to pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals. The working group, led by Sen. James Welch of Springfield and funded by the(...)

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5 takeaways from health cost trends hearings

5 takeaways from health cost trends hearings

Baker, Partners margins, and social determinants

HAVING ATTENDED the Health Policy Commission’s annual cost trend hearings earlier this month, I came away thinking about five interesting moments, which I present in the chronological order in which they occurred. 1. In his third time kicking off the hearings since his election as governor, Charlie Baker stayed consistent in the directional theme of(...)

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Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Union skirmishes foreshadow ballot campaign over who makes the call

MARK BRODEUR, a nurse at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, says his unit, which serves patients recovering from anesthesia post-surgery, is usually staffed pretty well. But not long ago he says he found himself struggling to care simultaneously for three patients all requiring critical care. “I had one incoming patient, so I’m hearing the report(...)

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Commission hears worries on health cost trends

Commission hears worries on health cost trends

Some key indicators trending in the wrong direction

STUART ALTMAN, the chair of the Health Policy Commission, summed up two days of hearings on cost trends in the state’s health care market by highlighting what was and what was not said. Altman said Massachusetts has had some success in slowing the growth in health care spending and the state is no longer the(...)

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DeLeo, Rosenberg on same health care page

DeLeo, Rosenberg on same health care page

Speaker calls pace of MassHealth spending unsustainable

HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO signaled on Tuesday that he and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg are on the same page when it comes to passing health care reform legislation. Rosenberg told the Health Policy Commission on Monday that spending on MassHealth was rising way too fast and crowding out other funding needs. DeLeo told the commission(...)

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Hospital care shifting to high-cost medical centers

Hospital care shifting to high-cost medical centers

‘Troubling’ trends following mergers have health commission worried

HOSPITAL ACQUISITIONS BY large Massachusetts provider networks are leading to more patients receiving care in higher-cost teaching hospitals and fewer patients being cared for in community hospitals, according to data presented Monday afternoon by the state Health Policy Commission. The trends are moving in the opposite direction of what health policy leaders have long declared(...)

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Senate to unveil Medicaid legislation

Senate to unveil Medicaid legislation

Rosenberg says bill will include Baker, commission proposals

THE SENATE IS PREPARING to unveil legislation designed to pare back the cost of health care and MassHealth by cobbling together ideas put forth by Gov. Charlie Baker, a commission on hospital price variation, and a Senate research study. At a cost trends hearing on Monday hosted by the Health Policy Commission, Senate President Stanley(...)

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Time to get serious about health care cost control

Time to get serious about health care cost control

We got a reprieve from DC. Let’s not squander it.

THIS SUMMER, MASSACHUSETTS and the nation dodged a bullet when the Senate failed by one vote to repeal but not actually replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Had it passed, Massachusetts could have lost billions of federal Medicaid dollars. This week, we avoided another disaster as Senate Republicans threw in the towel (at least as(...)

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Graham-Cassidy would be devastating for Mass.

Graham-Cassidy would be devastating for Mass.

Bill would gut CarePlus, which serves 300,000 residents

CHUCK IS A 58-YEAR-OLD MALE  with multiple chronic physical and mental health conditions, including diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and depression. On top of his urgent medical needs – for which he frequently visits emergency services – he is chronically homeless. Chuck is a real person, one of nearly 2 million Massachusetts residents whose(...)

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