Jul 7, 2010

Massachusetts Payment Reform on Hold, For Now

Big news hit this weekend for anyone following health care reform, Massachusetts style. Rumor has it we will not be seeing any payment reform legislation in Massachusetts this year. That's the legislation that is supposed to overhaul how physicians are reimbursed and finally "bend the cost curve."

Over the weekend the Globe reported that Senate President Therese Murray, the smug looking one above, will not be submitting payment reform legislation. A number of reasons were cited for delaying filing, but the best explanation Murray had to offer was, "because of the logistical and political complexity of changing a system that has been in place for decades." 

Yup, changing the entire payment system for the thousands of people we call "d-o-c-t-o-r-s" might be challenging. Really, had you not thought of that before?

She then went on to enlighten Globe readers by informing them that "the current payment system — in which doctors and hospitals are typically paid a negotiated fee for every procedure and visit — is also profitable for many providers." We here at MedPolicy always disagreed with the paying-physicians concept, but as much as we protested, those highly trained, over-worked, under-appreciated people who live under mountains of pointless insurance paperwork demanded that they GET PAID!

Finally she boiled it down to into simpler language to help us understand. "It's like going around in circles," she said. "Nobody is in agreement on anything." This statement can only lead us to one of two conclusions: She really isn't an elected official OR she has never stepped foot in the State House. Either way, physicians won't have to grapple with such an intellectual giant ... at least not this year.

Click the Boston.Com link to read the full article: