A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

T-Minus 2 Weeks For Payment Reform

T-Minus 2 Weeks For Payment Reform

July 17, 2012

A week ago we reminded our readers that just three weeks remained in the legislative session, with the comprehensive health delivery system reform and cost control bill hanging out in the conference committee. Well now there's just 2 weeks left. So we were dismayed yesterday to read in a Boston Globe editorial that “a conference committee is reportedly making little headway on resolving critical differences and arriving at compromise legislation.”

We highlighted a number of critical issues in the balance, beyond the big, important fights over luxury taxes and marketing power. These include funding for community-based prevention, extending the insurance rebate law, structuring payments to reward better outcomes, protecting vulnerable patients, and not preemptively messing with the employer responsibility law.

It is imperative that the legislature not only reach a compromise but ensure that the legislation that is reported out be consumer-focused. Let’s make sure we have a fully funded Prevention Health Trust, that we reward those systems that have better health outcomes. Lastly, let’s make sure that in the give and take debate of the economics of this issue we not forget the most vital component of a health care system, the patient. There's time left, and we're not panicking. But we'd urge people to call their legislators to let them know how critical these issues are. Let the nation look to us once again for our guidance on health reform, reducing costs while improving quality.
-Paul Williams