In 2006, under Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts became the first state to extend insurance coverage to all its residents. Now it’s looking to slow the growth of its health-care costs in equally groundbreaking ways.
In the next few months, Massachusetts is expected to take up legislation that would overhaul how doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid. The forthcoming payment-reform bill is expected to include many incentives for hospitals to accept ”œglobal payments,” or a flat fee for all the care delivered for a specific person or group of people.
The hope is to take away the financial incentives to provide more care when less might be equally effective.
”œThat’s been one of the biggest battles,” said JudyAnn Bigby, the state’s health and human services secretary, speaking at a conference last week hosted by the Lown Cardiovascular Research and New America foundations. ”œSome have characterized it as government intervention. We won’t require global payments but include incentives that would encourage providers to use alternatives to fee-for-service.”
So far, Massachusetts businesses have proved amenable to such payment changes. In many ways, they’ve moved in that direction without any direction from the government.