Cart Before the Horse in Media Coverage of Massachusetts Payment Reform

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cart before the horse
Before digging into the Senate bill this afternoon, I wanted to express my concern about early media coverage of the payment reform debate. The spotlight has become focused on 3 or 4 points, all contained in press releases.

No one can knowledgably comment on the Senate bill since they have not seen the full language- as they are still finalizing parts of it this morning.

It is easy to say the two bills look the same from the press release, but are they?

The debate over somewhat arbitrary cost growth goals is pointless, unless there is a debate about the mechanisms to get there. Did we forget that DHCFP data tells us 53% of employers are self-insured in our state and therefore not regulated at the state level?

I am worried, after talking with a number of health care industry folks over the last 4 or 5 days, that each is looking at their slice of the pie and failing to see the big picture… or even questioning how these proposals will play out in implementation.

On the flip side, I worry that folks on Beacon Hill see this debate more as an academic exercise or a political battle, and not establishing comprehensive and sensible reforms that engage consumers.

Early media reporting on the bill is very important because it is often the only coverage the public pays full attention to, and frames the debate for most public figures. Are we to accept the supposition that the only viable options are taxing providers or insurers– or both– and government intervention to correct past flawed government intervention?

Find me on twitter: @josharchambault