The latest from Massachusetts

Robert Weisman reports in today’s Boston Globe:

While the White House seems destined to spend the next two years fending off attacks on President Obama’s health care law, the administration of Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will push forward with the next stage of health care overhaul: trying to contain the escalating costs of medical care. […]

As the governor’s lieutenants draft a bill on payment overhaul to submit to the Legislature in January, representatives of medical care providers, insurers, employers, and consumers met yesterday to try to craft a workable cost-control plan. The group was convened by JudyAnn Bigby, state secretary of health and human services, even before Patrick was reelected to a second term Tuesday.

Bigby said yesterday that the stakeholders group has yet to reach consensus on issues such as whether a board is needed to oversee a new payment system, what authority such a panel would have, and what outcomes it would monitor. The group is also debating a regulatory framework for how health care providers can form alliances, called accountable care organizations, under a new system.

“The biggest area of concern is over whether to regulate the price of health care,’’ Bigby said. The disagreement on the payment committee, she said, is “between those who don’t want the price of health care to be regulated and those who say you can’t make sure health costs are controlled unless you regulate the price.’’

So, there’s only a few small issues to work out.

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