Murray’s Healthcare Moment

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The prospect for dynamic reform on Beacon Hill seemed slight a week ago. New initiatives seemed to be breaking down in a familiar pattern — Governor proposes ‘bold, new’ (expensive) initiative, Legislature promises ‘careful, in-depth’ review (and plenty of revisions.

Then, Senate President Murray gave her speech at Wednesday’s Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce meeting. She proposed the following:

1) Public hearings to document the causes of premium increases above 7 percent

2) Realigning of payment methodologies to encourage quality and efficiency, not just the volume of services provided.

3) Increased recruitment of primary care providers

4) Allowing nurse practitioners to serve as PCPs for some patients

5) Permit “limited service clinics” proposed by the Department of Public Health.

6) Expanding the certificate of need process to include all medical care facilities

Now, Pioneer is not necessarily in favor of all of these (although 2,4, and 5 are particularly attractive). But we salute the Senate President for her willingness to break through the guardrails of the polite debate (Better healthcare at lower cost? Sign me up!) and gore the ox of pretty much every stakeholder with these ideas.

Thus far, the reaction seems pretty good. Charlie Baker of Harvard Pilgrim appears to approve. As does Paul Levy of BIDMC and the folks at Healthcare for All.