KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mass. Attorney General Says Plan To Curb Health Costs Not Working

A report by Attorney General Martha Coakley says providers retain market clout and can bargain for high payments.

The Boston Globe: Mass. Finds New System Not Cutting Health Costs
Early results show that putting doctors and hospitals on a budget - a payment method promoted as a way to curb health costs - has not saved money in Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley concluded in a report released yesterday. One reason, an investigation by her staff found, is that providers with market clout still appear able to negotiate high payments, just as they do under the traditional system that pays them a separate fee for each procedure or visit (Kowalczyk, 6/23).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Massachusetts Attorney General Drops Health Reform Bombshell
"Our examination found that paying providers on a global basis has not resulted in lower total medical expenses." It's just a short, no-frills sentence, but it amounts to a bombshell dropped on a central tenet of the Massachusetts governor's plan for the next phase of health reform. ... The attorney general also found that wide price disparities unrelated to the quality of care still persist from one Massachusetts hospital to another (Goldberg and Zimmerman, 6/22).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Poorer Patients Help Subsidize Health Care For The Rich, Coakley Report Finds
Tucked into Attorney General Martha Coakley's exhaustive investigation of the drivers behind escalating health care costs in the state is a startling, new and counterintuitive finding: the richer you are, the more your insurer is probably spending on your health care. And the poor are helping to foot the bill. Indeed, the report says, it appears that lower-income people are subsidizing the higher-cost care of the wealthy ... As far as the attorney general's office knows, this is the first such analysis in the nation (Zimmerman, 6/22). 

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