KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Governments Struggling To Tame Health Costs

News outlets are covering various ideas on how to control health care inflation.

The Washington Post: Massachusetts, Pioneer Of Universal Health Care, Now May Try New Approach To Costs
Now, the commonwealth is debating whether to become a role model again - by replacing the fee-for-service system that has long defined U.S. medicine. Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) is trying to "shove," as he put it, the health-care system here into a new era of cost control. He is proposing a new way of paying for care ... [which] would give lump payments to teams of doctors responsible for almost all the care of a group of patients, with bonuses for saving money and dispensing high-caliber services that keep people healthy. The governor's plan - stirring an impassioned debate inside the gold-domed State House on Beacon Hill and among players in the state's vaunted health-care industry - would make Massachusetts the only state to promote wholesale new arrangements of "integrated care" (Goldstein, 4/15).

The Columbus Dispatch: Health-Care Changes Might Trim Costs
For many patients, it doesn't take long to figure out that the health-care system is fragmented. ... The federal government wants to change that through "accountable-care organizations," or ACOs, and "medical homes." Both terms describe health providers working together to achieve quality, thoughtful health care for patients and then sharing in the savings from government and private payers. It's a move away from the current fee-for-service model, in which doctors are paid based on the number of patients they see each day, and hospitals are paid based on the medical tests performed. ... Yesterday, officials from 18 central Ohio hospitals met to learn how accountable-care organizations can cut costs and improve patient safety (Hoholik, 4/16).

Related from Kaiser Health News: Accountable Care Organization Proposed Regulations: Resources and FAQ On ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations, Explained (Gold, 3/31)


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