Getting Real in Massachusetts

The knock on Massachusetts' universal health reform  package is that it does nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable health insurance: the high ...
August 7, 2008

The knock on Massachusetts' universal health reform  package is that it does nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable health insurance: the high price of health care.

Last week, the state stepped up to the plate.

Legislators didn't go back to the usual pitch: shrink payments to providers; cut back on health services available to beneficiaries. They wrote into law some measures that could actually help tame costs in the Bay State.

One piece of the bill goes after inefficiencies. It calls for a commission to develop uniform billing and coding standards for health care providers and insurers and it sets a statewide goal of adopting electronic health records by 2015 .

The bill also takes on the problem of primary care--fewer physicians go into the field and that pushes patients into higher-care settings for basic health care. What the Massachusetts law calls for is expanding enrollment at the UMass medical school and providing incentives for students to go into primary care specialties.

It's a start.

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