Massachusettes and Healthcare
This is mostly a paste of a post on the New Paradigm board which has seen its share of healthcare discussion of late. It is a shame I have not been blogging more on healthcare reform of late, even if just to link what I have been reading.
I'm a MA resident, which often puts me on the frontline regarding healthcare news (which I enjoy). As many know, MA implemented a system a few years back (under Romney) which attempted universal coverage. It has been quite successful at increasing coverage.
It has not been successful at reigning in costs, and it does not have a public plan option (PPO). Many, particularly on the federal level are looking at the need for a PPO as a tool to control costs. It probably would, but many fear that option - and reasonably so, as it likely would signal the end to broad health coverage plans based on ability to compete.
MA is trying something else, and it is a shame that more states aren't experimenting with different types of programs. MA is attempting to create the 'Medicacl Home' and move away from pay-for-procedure and toward pay-for-performance. It won't be easy, and can go off the rails if not implemented well. But .. should it work it is a game changer, and could make healthcare stocks 'new paradigm' all over again.
Here is an excellent commentary on what is being attempted and its challenges (good blog to follow for wonks on this).
Another good commentary on what is going on in MA, and how it could be game changing is in this New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece.
Now, because this is so so important to get right, I really do think that at the federal level we need to wait to see how it plays out before ramming through too much change. Again, it is a shame more states aren't trying something, so as to have more to contrast against. I absolutely do think change is needed and the current system is awful, mostly due to the hard tie of coverage to employment and absence of visibility to the consumer to true costs (which has allowed the system to get increasingly more expensive in a stealth-like manner).
This debate is long from over, but with the near certainty that change is indeed coming. Opportunities always present with change (just wish I was better at IDing them with foresight rather than hindsight).
And finally, thanks to ncfool2 for linking in this 40 minute debate regarding healthcare reform. The discussion is between a conservative and liberal economist on the topic. As ncfool2 stated, it is surprising on how much they agree on, particularly in regard to acknowledging/identifying the problems.
Home Coverage Team