PDM Health Care Working Group::Recommendations
1. The Problem: While in many respects Massachusetts has been a leader in health care reform, our health care system continues to generate enormous costs and inequities. Over the past decade, increases in health care spending in the Commonwealth have outpaced national averages. In recent years, per capita expenditures on health care in Massachusetts have exceeded those in every other state. At the same time, our existing model has not consistently facilitated public health and consumer protection. Although the reform measures enacted in 2012 have increased transparency and oversight in relation to health care costs in our state, the framework of our system remains fundamentally inefficient, fragmented, and aligned with the wrong incentives.
2. Goals and Initiatives: We wish to continue to investigate state-level alternatives to our current model of health care financing. To this end, we recommend supporting legislative initiatives to study the potential costs of a state-based single payer insurance system, such as “An Act to Ensure Effective Health Care Cost Control,” currently cosponsored by Representative Benson (HD 1107) and Senator Wolf (SD 44). In addition, “An Act Establishing Medicare for All in the Commonwealth,” cosponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge (SD996) and Representative Tom Sannicandro (1151), is worth following.
Beyond single payer insurance, we believe PDM should support initiatives that generally promote transparency and access to health care. For example, “An Act to Keep People Healthy by Removing Barriers to Cost-Effective Care,” sponsored by Representative Farley-Bouvier (HD 1690) and Senator Lewis (SD 656), would eliminate copays and deductibles for high value, low-cost drugs such as insulin, inhalers, and hypertension medications, thus improving access to treatment for chronically ill patients. Another worthy bill, sponsored by Senator Montigny, is “An Act to Promote Transparency and Cost Control of Pharmaceutical Drug Prices” (SD 1726), which would require the disclosure of the costs of prescription drug manufacturing.
3. Potential Partners and Methods: Successful promotion of these initiatives will likely require collaboration with MassCare, Health Care for All, and/or the various legislators who have sponsored health care reform efforts. Robust use of the PDM website and social media forums to publicize partner organizations’ events and efforts may facilitate relationship-building with allies. As PDM learns more about particular initiatives, members may wish to organize outreach efforts, hold training events, and create educational materials.
Submitted by the Health Care Working Group February 28, 2015