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MA payment-reform bill would overhaul how healthcare providers are paid

The Washington Post, May 2, 2012

In 2006, under Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts became the first state to extend insurance coverage to all its residents. Now it's looking to slow the growth of its healthcare costs in equally groundbreaking ways. In the next few months, Massachusetts is expected to take up legislation that would overhaul how doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid. The forthcoming payment-reform bill is expected to include many incentives for hospitals to accept "global payments," or a flat fee for all the care delivered for a specific person or group of people.The hope is to take away the financial incentives to provide more care when less might be equally effective. So far, Massachusetts businesses have proved amenable to such payment changes. In many ways, they've moved in that direction without any direction from the government.