Counter Point What Massachusetts Should Do As Uncertainty Engulfs US Healthcare System

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Regardless of what takes place at a national level, Massachusetts has its own set of challenges to continue pursuing the state’s commitment to universal coverage at affordable prices. This report offers a ten-point program that the state should vigorously focus on in the days ahead.

Massachusetts Hospitals Score Poorly on Price Transparency…Again

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Eighteen months after an initial survey of prices at hospitals in Massachusetts, Pioneer Institute conducted a follow-up survey of all but one of the hospitals from the first survey to see if there had been any change in the performance of these institutions since their last assessment. Initial survey calls were conducted between September 20th and November 2nd, 2016.

Recommendations to the Transparency Subcommittee of the Special Commission on Provider Variation

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Submitted to the Special Commission on Provider Price Variation on January 31, 2017

Testimony on Healthcare Price Transparency

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Testimony emphasized the need to focus more on what would help consumers make better decisions about spending on healthcare.

Transparency in Retail Drug Prices: Easy to Obtain but Accuracy May Be Doubtful

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This paper is the fourth in a series on price transparency in the healthcare industry, and the first Pioneer report to focus on the retail price of prescription medications. Researchers called 44 retail drug stores across the state asking for the price of a 30-day supply of each drug in a common dosage. In each case the callers said they were self-pay and pressed the drug store for information about discounts.

Over A Decade, The ACA Fee On MassHealth Will Cost Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

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In “Over a Decade, the ACA Fee on MassHealth Will Cost Hundreds of Millions of Dollars,” authors Lauren Corvese and Josh Archambault examine the potential budget impact of the Health Insurer Provider Fee (HIPF), a revenue-raising mechanism for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Combating Opioid Addiction in Massachusetts: A Hospital-Based Solution Shows Promise in Reducing Relapses and ER Costs

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Preliminary results suggest that a new program that gives opioid overdose patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth (BID-Plymouth) multiple opportunities to access detox programs, psychological counseling, anti-abuse drugs and other services is proving effective at reducing recidivism and returning opioid users to more productive lives.

Are Drug Prices Driving Healthcare Cost Growth?

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This report illustrates that state policy and legislative recommendations requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose proprietary information would discourage the development of new innovative medicines, lead to higher healthcare costs over the long term, and potentially damage a big driver of Massachusetts' business economy.

Healthcare Prices for Common Procedures Are Hard for Consumers to Obtain Survey finds hospitals not prepared to give price information to consumers

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This policy brief is the third in a series of reports on healthcare price transparency prepared by Pioneer Institute. Researchers surveyed six major metropolitan areas and spoke with 54 acute care hospitals across those regions: Des Moines, IA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Orlando, FL, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA asking for the price of an MRI of the left knee without contrast. In addition, they explored the existence of federal and state laws that might apply in the states where the hospitals surveyed are located. They also examined the websites of the 54 hospitals for price information. The results of this survey are described in this policy brief.

What Will U.S. Households Pay for Health Care in the Future

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This white paper reports that health care costs for a U.S. family of average income (including family insurance premium contributions and out-of-pocket costs including co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles) could increase from $8,583 annually to $13,213 by 2025, but up to as high as $18,251 in the same year. In terms of proportion of earnings, this would be equivalent to 20 percent and 27 percent of household income by 2025, respectively.

Bay State Specialists and Dentists Get Mixed Reviews on Price Transparency

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Pioneer surveyed 96 specialists from across Massachusetts, split…

Mass Hospitals Weak on Price Transparency

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Pioneer Institute surveyed 22 out of approximately 66 Massachusetts acute care hospitals and 10 free-standing clinics seeking prices for one common procedure - an MRI of the left knee without contrast.  While Pioneer was ultimately able to get the information from all 10 clinics and 21 of the 22 hospitals, the process was time consuming, confusing and replete with long rounds of telephone tag.

Whistleblowers Expose the Massachusetts Connector

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State officials knew that development of a federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) website was off track for more than a year before the October 1, 2013 launch date.  Instead of raising concerns about the project, they misled the public by minimizing the shortcomings of the contractor hired to build the website, asked state workers to approve shoddy work and appear to have covered up the project’s abysmal progress in a presentation to federal officials.

Baker’s Dozen A Common Sense Healthcare Agenda for the Next Governor

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Healthcare must remain a top policy priority for the next administration. It consumes nearly half of the state budget, has been a "pac-man" eating up resources for every other public policy priority, and has been an important driver of legislative discussions around tax increase proposals. The current path is unsustainable.

The Undisclosed Cost of Developing an Affordable Care Act State Exchange in Massachusetts

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The transition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Massachusetts has been a bumpy one, to say the least. The state still lacks a functional website, and currently has almost 300,000 individuals on a newly created transitional Medicaid (MassHealth) program, with almost no program integrity provisions being observed, as little eligibility verification was run on the population upon enrollment.

Out of the Filing Cabinet and Into the Fire: How the Shift from Paper to Electronic Health Records Has Endangered Patient Privacy and Security and How to Calm the Flame

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This paper will discuss the importance of secure medical records in health information exchanges (HIEs), the general history of EHRs in the US and in Massachusetts particularly, the history of privacy rights in the medical field, and finally efforts being taken to ensure more protected and private EHRs.

A First Step Toward Retiree Healthcare Reform, But Much More is Needed

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A First Step Toward Retiree Healthcare Reform, But Much More is Needed was provided in October 2013.

Mayor, Tear Down This Wall: Why Boston’s Ban on Convenient Care Clinics Is Costing Taxpayers Millions

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As convenient care clinics (also known as walk-in clinics or limited service clinics) grow in popularity across the nation, Boston remains empty of these clinics due to mayoral opposition. Convenient care clinics, a relatively new development in the world of health care, first emerged just 12 years ago.

New ACA Medicare Payroll Tax Hits Massachusetts, $1.7 Billion Over 10 Years

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This brief is part of an occasional series from Pioneer Institute examining the direct effects of the ACA on Massachusetts. Please see the end of the paper for more examples.

First Do No Harm: The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Massachusetts’ Medical Device Industry

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This brief is one of many in a series from Pioneer Institute examining the direct effects of the PPACA on Massachusetts. The purpose of this report is to estimate the annual impact of the law’s tax on the 19 biggest medical device companies conducting business in Massachusetts.

Consumer Driven Health Care: A New Agenda for Cost Control in Massachusetts

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This paper provides a discussion of CDHC, what it is and how it can help constrain health care costs and increase patient engagement in Massachusetts. While supply-side approaches are also necessary for cost control, without engaged consumers, Massachusetts may find that it cannot accomplish its cost-containment goals as quickly or as successfully as desired.

Impact of the Federal Health Law’s “Cadillac Insurance Tax” in Massachusetts

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The Obama administration has done its best to highlight some of the more popular provisions of the law such as expanded preventative benefits, allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents insurance, closing the prescription drug “doughnut hole” for seniors on Medicare, and expanded contraception coverage. Yet, many of the less attractive provisions have not been given a local spotlight. This brief will examine the impact of the so-called “Cadillac tax” included in ObamaCare.

Testimony to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

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"Testimony to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing" was provided in December 2011.

Innovative Medical Liability Reform

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This paper describes Massachusetts' existing medical liability system, including how it has failed to achieve its social objectives, the impact of the system on health care costs, and recent efforts towards reform. It presents policy options for medical liability reform. It examines both traditional and nontraditional avenues of reform along with strategies for advancing medical liability reform in Massachusetts.

Business Solutions to the Health Care Crunch

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While larger employers have engaged their employees in wellness initiatives and consumer-driven approaches, small employers have often lagged behind. Small businesses can, however, adopt these health benefit approaches to address their own rising health care costs.

Fixing the Massachusetts Health Exchange

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The importance of this work is especially clear as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) requires a health benefit exchange to be operating in every state by 2014. The question of the Connector's effectiveness is of critical importance to other states as they try to plan and design what an exchange will look like in their own state' For Massachusetts, the ACA provides both opportunities and challenges moving forward.

An Interim Report Card on Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Part 4

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This report is the final report in a series of four. Earlier reports in this series evaluated access to health insurance and health care, equitable and sustainable financing, and administrative efficiency. The focus of this report will be on cost-effective quality, and the analysis will be organized by the four "Scorecard Metric,' presented in Figure 1. 

An Interim Report Card on Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Part 3

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This report is the third in a series of four. The focus of this report is on administrative efficiency.

An Interim Report Card on Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Part 2

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As an alternative to analyzing the reform’s impact on isolated issues, in January 2009 the Pioneer Institute proposed a framework for evaluating the reform.

An Interim Report Card on Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Part 1

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The focus of this report is on the reduction of barriers to access.