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Health Care Cost Control and Payment Reform

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In August 2012, the state house in Massachusetts passed its Health Care Cost Control and Payment Reform, something of a patchwork fix-up of the problems that had arisen under Romney's system.

The bill, at heart, created a measure for health care cost containment, Between 2013 and 2017, it was to be the policy of Massachusetts that the health care industry should not grow any more quickly than the state's economy, as measured by the increase in the GSP over the same period.

Between 2018 and 2022, the official goal was to be that the health care industry's expansion should be below that of the gross state product.

How was this to be achieved? In large part by paperwork. The bill provided that every health care provider group that operated in the state must register and regularly report on financial performance, market share, cost trends, and quality measure. The legislation also established a special commission to track price variations.

I wrote a brief story on all this for the Agawam newspaper soon after the bill passed, in which I quoted the views of the local State Senator and the State Rep. representing that town.

But I recently came across that issue of the paper in the course of some cleaning up, and I have to wonder: how is the program doing? We're half way through the first of the two identified periods now.

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