Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pawlenty pegs Massachusetts' health care plan

From Politico, here's Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty:

He also took a shot at the Massachusetts model. "The cost of that thing has nearly tripled in just 36 months and they're looking for an additional federal bailout," he said. "It has not been successful in containing costs."
That's spot on, and I'm surprised that the Bay State model hasn't gotten more attention in the national health care debate. If the Massachusetts system is a window into the future of health care reform, there's not much to like. From USA Today, here's "Massachusetts has lessons for health care debate"

The state that pioneered health care for all is about to take another leap into the unknown: paying for it.
Three years after mandating that residents get health insurance and requiring employers, insurers and taxpayers to chip in, Massachusetts has yet to control soaring costs that are eating up half its budget. So it's considering an equally radical idea: changing the way doctors and hospitals are paid to reward results.
And by "changing they way doctors are paid" they don't mean with rolls of quarters instead of dollars. They mean "less."

And then there's access to the healthcare we're paying more for:

Quality has been an issue, too. Because more people have insurance, some doctors and safety-net hospitals are overwhelmed. A study by the non-partisan Urban Institute found one in five adults in the state have been turned away by a doctor's office or clinic.
And overwhelmed hospitals are going broke:

But if anything, demand has increased as the newly insured seek more medical attention. "The funding levels are not keeping pace with the volume that we're seeing," says William Halpin, CEO of South Boston Community Health Center.
"There's been a little bit of robbing Peter to pay Paul."Boston Medical Center, the state's largest provider to the poor, filed a lawsuit against the state last week charging that it's getting only 64 cents on the dollar to care for low-income patients.
So there you have it: higher cost, less access, and underpaid doctors and hospitals. Remind me again why health care reform is something we must do.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the Bay State model hasn't gotten more attention in the national health care debate.

Sure, what with the national "professional" media in his pocket, control of congress, the Supreme Court & the white house, why would any new president hesitaite to strike while the iron is hot?



Anonymous said...

Control of the media? And the Supreme Court? The one with all the 5-4 votes headed by Judge Roberts?

Don't forget radio waves, Obama secretly runs those, too!