Health Care in Massachusetts

It's been a busy week in the world of health care costs, and thinking critically about them.

Jon Kingsdale, the Executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, penned an article in Saturday's Boston Globe pointing out some of the keys to success of the Connector, including gaining broad support, the individual mandate, a small levy on employers who don't offer health insurance, a public education campaign, merging the individual and small group markets and generous subsidies.  He concludes 

"Challenges certainly lie ahead in Massachusetts, particularly around cost containment, and the cost of a national bill will be a major factor in the Washington debate"

The Globe Spotlight team had another article about Partners Health Care, and its reach out into the suburbs.  Many community hospitals, with lower reimbursement rates, feel that they cannot compete effectively against Partners.  On the other, many patients are voting with their feet and going to Partners-affiliated facilities.   The electronic version comes with an interactive graphic which shows the increased market penetration of Partners throughout Massachusetts.   The frenzy of building in the suburbs, both by Partners and by competing institutions, seems likely to lead to increased health care costs for some time to come.