Tag Archive: price controls

Massachusetts Passes Health Cost Control Bill – Kaiser Health News

The Bay State does another first in health care reform.  First with a state-based health insurance exchange and a mandate that everyone have health coverage.  Now the first state to attempt to bend the health care cost curve by force of law, albeit a paper tiger according to the story.

Here’s an excerpt from the story by WBUR and Kaiser Health News:

Under the new law, hospitals and doctors will have to cut their rate of cost growth about in half. So, instead of going up 6 to 8 percent per year, costs would only be allowed to rise 3.6 percent per year.

“No other state has tried to tie health care costs to the state’s economy,” said Massachusetts Association of Health Plans President Lora Pellegrini. “This is going to be really revolutionary and very important and I’m sure the nation’s watching.”

Michael Widmer, with the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, says he thinks the health care industry will embrace the bill’s spending goals, even though they are what he considers aggressive.

“But on the other hand the legislation does not include triggers or punishments if the targets aren’t met,” he said.

 


Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email fpilot@pilothealthstrategies.com or call 530-295-1473. 

Medical providers fear price controls via insurance rate regulation

Kaiser Health News (KHN) provides a roundup of federal and state options to regulate health insurance premiums.  Reading between the lines, however, the story is really about a larger issue: regulatory action to hold down the cost of medical care that underlies the actuarial basis of premiums.  Either indirectly by giving insurance regulators more authority to approve or reject filed premium rates or more directly as KHN reports:

Tired of complaints that underlying costs are the problem, but hearing no consensus from the health-care industry on how to solve it, Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) introduced a broad proposal to overhaul the way health care is paid for. Part of the proposal would allow regulators to reject premium increases if insurers pay hospitals, doctors and others more than a limit set by the state.

Either way, to providers it smells like price controls.  In California, that prospect has doctors so alarmed that they’ve allied with their traditional payer adversaries to oppose pending legislation (Assembly Bill 52) that would give the Golden State insurance and managed care plan regulators prior approval authority over health insurance rate filings and allow them to bar the use of rates deemed excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory.

Massachusetts Gov. Patrick’s concept bears watching and could have national implications insofar as that state’s health care reform served as a template for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

 


Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email fpilot@pilothealthstrategies.com or call 530-295-1473. 

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