New Hampshire lawmakers have a long history of jeering Massachusetts over taxes, but it looks like they have moved to a much bigger sacred cow, health care.
The Boston Globe ($)recently reported that in New Hampshire there is a bill, “eliminating a state review process and exempting it [specialty destination hospitals] from a tax that New Hampshire’s nonprofit hospitals pay.”
By contrast, the two recently proposed payment reform bills on Beacon Hill move in the opposite direction. The bills “reform” the determination of need process to make it more government-centered and will severely limit any future expansion of similar facilities in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts policymakers should be watching our borders closely as they aim to significantly alter our local payment methods for health care.
The diametrically opposed directions being debated in these two states could have long-term implications for where patients receive their health care. As more health care institutions are forced to compete on price and quality, Massachusetts providers may lose out.
Not only will some patients living in Massachusetts go to these out-of-state practices, but the Commonwealth could also lose patients traveling to our state for medical tourism reasons. Companies like Patient advocates in Maine run on a business model of finding the lowest-cost highest-quality providers, and Massachusetts providers may soon have lots of new competition in our region.
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