Cost Control Efforts Working 'So Far' in MA

Tinker Ready, September 15, 2016

Health policy veteran Stuart Altman, PhD, is hopeful, but not optimistic, about healthcare delivery reforms and thinks hospitals will be forced to bring costs down because patients won't tolerate any more cost shifting.

Health policy veteran Stuart Altman, PhD, is hopeful, but not optimistic, about healthcare delivery reforms and thinks hospitals will be forced to bring costs down because patients won't tolerate any more cost shifting.

This is the first of two parts. Read part 2.

Ten years ago, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted an approach to universal health insurance coverage that became the model for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The next step: to control costs.

In 2012, the Bay State established the Health Policy Commission, an independent agency that monitors healthcare costs against "growth benchmarks." At its helm, Stuart Altman, PhD, a Brandeis University healthcare economist who has advised presidents from Nixon to Obama.

He's seen it all, from DRGs to HMOs to the ACA. HealthLeaders Media talked with Altman about what the Massachusetts cost control effort could mean for hospitals across the nation.

He is hopeful, but not optimistic, about the ACA's delivery reforms and thinks hospitals will be forced to bring costs down because patients won't tolerate any more cost shifting. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

Tinker Ready

Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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