KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Bipartisan Commission: States Should Lead Efforts To Cut Health Costs

State leaders have significant power to curb rising health care costs and they should lead the effort, advises a commission co-chaired by two former governors. Meanwhile, a Massachusetts state report concludes that more than a third of health-care spending in that state each year may be wasteful.

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Fight To Cut Health Costs Depends On States
States have significant power to cut health care costs and they should use it, a commission co-chaired by former Gov. Bill Ritter declared on Wednesday. The Miller Center at the University of Virginia unveiled the group’s report, Cracking the Code on Health Care Costs, at the National Press Club in Washington. The bipartisan members of the State Health Care Cost Containment Commission pressed states to reverse unsustainable growth in health costs that threaten to strangle the U.S. economy (Kerwin McCrimmon, 1/8).

Kaiser Health News: Report: Effort To Curb Costs Should Be 'Led By The States'
Governors and other state leaders have the leverage to slow rising health costs and should not wait for action by the federal government, a commission chaired by two former governors said in a report Wednesday. State leaders can use their clout as large purchasers of health care as well as regulators to set goals for health spending and quality (Appleby, 1/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Massachusetts Wastes Third Of Health Spending, Report Says
More than a third of health-care spending may be wasteful in Massachusetts, where costs are among the highest in the nation, a state report released on Wednesday said. Main drivers of excess spending included patients returning to hospitals for preventable reasons and emergency-room visits that better primary care could have warded off, the state's Health Policy Commission concluded, citing 2012 data. The commission estimated between $14.7 billion and $26.9 billion in wasteful spending that year, representing between 21% and 39% of total health expenditures (Kamp, 1/8).

WBUR: Mass. Health Numbers: Over $14B Wasted, Teaching Hospitals Huge
Health wonk heaven! The state’s new Health Policy Commission has just released its full report on Massachusetts health costs, ... Here are a few data points from the report that struck me: ... Even after adjusting for the varying complexity of needs of patients treated by each hospital and for different regional wage levels, hospitals with higher levels of operating expenses spent 23 percent more to provide the same services than those with lower levels of operating expenses (Goldberg, 1/8).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.