Health Care

Moving beyond health cost targets

Moving beyond health cost targets

A struggle for the soul of the Health Policy Commission

IN LATE MARCH, the board of the Health Policy Commission voted unanimously to leave the 2018 cost growth benchmark for total state health care expenditures at 3.1 percent. This target for per-person growth in health spending was set under our 2012 cost containment law as the predicted growth in the state’s overall economy for 2018(...)

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Death of a cancer lab

Death of a cancer lab

Once-thriving publicly funded research program driven into bankruptcy by questionable characters

FEW PLACES HAVE the resources and brain power to match Boston when it comes to biomedical research, including the search for effective ways to treat and prevent cancer. Internationally renowned hospitals, combined with some of the leading universities in the world, make the region a magnet for top researchers and the funding that fuels their(...)

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Red states dodge a Medicaid bullet

Red states dodge a Medicaid bullet

Under-the-radar attempt to repeal entitlement unlikely to go away

REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON couldn’t cobble together enough votes in March from their own party to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump learned that health care is more complicated than he thought and quickly put the Affordable Care Act in his rearview mirror. House Republicans, who had symbolically voted dozens of times to repeal the ACA,(...)

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Bending the Medicaid cost curve

Bending the Medicaid cost curve

Massachusetts is betting big on accountable care organizations

IN A WILDLY uncertain national health care environment, something new, audacious, and risky is happening in MassHealth, the Medicaid program that provides health coverage to 1.9 million people who are poor, elderly, and persons with disabilities in Massachusetts. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is betting that an emerging health care delivery and payment model, called “accountable(...)

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Big Pharma hides costs with bait and switch

Big Pharma hides costs with bait and switch

Drug companies offer copay breaks to get big insurance payments

THE ADS FOR high-end prescription drugs seem ubiquitous. Invokana, Xarelto, Abilify, and Humira are just a few names familiar to anyone with a television. The drugs are some of the stars of the more than $5 billion in direct-to-consumer advertising the pharmaceutical industry does each year to convince patients to ask their doctors to prescribe(...)

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Health spending benchmark lowered to 3.1%

Health spending benchmark lowered to 3.1%

State has had trouble meeting old target of 3.6%

THE MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH POLICY COMMISSION voted unanimously on Wednesday to lower the state’s 2018 benchmark for health care spending growth from 3.6 percent to 3.1 percent, a move that some members worried might be largely aspirational. The benchmark has been 3.6 percent since 2013, and the state has met that target only once, in 2013.(...)

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Sanchez: A few common themes emerged

Sanchez: A few common themes emerged

Health panel finds higher payments justified for high-quality providers

IN MAY OF 2016, I was named co-chair of the Special Commission on Provider Price Variation, a 23-member group consisting of legislators, insurers, providers, employers, and other stakeholders. The commission spent the last six months tackling complex issues in health care, including the payer-provider contracting relationship, the impact of health care market forces, how transparency(...)

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Health panel finds some common ground

Health panel finds some common ground

Draft plan calls for rate floor for community hospitals

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE AFTER SIX MONTHS OF SEEKING WAYS to address the variation in prices charged by Massachusetts medical providers, officials plan to recommend a host of solutions including a rate floor for lower-paid community hospitals, regulation of rate growth, and protections against out-of-network charges, according to a draft proposal. The recommendations are made(...)

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