Mea culpa. In our round-up yesterday of reactions to attorney general Martha Coakley’s latest report on health care costs, I missed the substantive comments from the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Their full statement is here, and I’d sum it up thusly:
-It will take a little time to delve into the report’s findings and methods.
-”Global payments and accountable care organizations are in the early stage of development and it is far too early to judge their potential impact.”
And the strongest language:
We strongly disagree with the AG’s recommendation that government temporarily regulate prices for services in the midst of evidence of dramatic changes in the healthcare delivery and payment system. The state system is evolving rapidly and many providers are contracting under alternative payment models including capitation, bundled payments and performance-focused incentive payments–these innovations should be given time to demonstrate their effect, not stifled by prescribing government-controlled price regulation. In addition, regulating prices is very complex, administratively burdensome and costly—it has been tried in Massachusetts before and failed. A lot of change is now underway in the healthcare system prompted, but not controlled, in part by government action. Rate regulation can result in unintended consequences such as interfering with the effective development of limited and tiered networks, which the Attorney General and many public policy leaders support.