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Committee Seeks ‘Reason To Believe’ From Gov. Patrick


I’d describe Gov. Deval Patrick’s reception by the legislature’s joint committee on health care financing today as extremely warm. I mean, really, both chairmen — Sen. Dick Moore and Rep. Steven Walsh — brandished copies of the governor’s new memoir, “A Reason To Believe.” What could be more supportive than that? Of course, Dick Moore did take to brandishing the title with a bit of his own edge: at one point, he averred that he’s seeking “a reason to believe” that the governor’s proposed health care bill will accomplish his goals. But still, there was no grilling; they saved that for other Cabinet members.

Here are a few of today’s points from the governor:

“If the first phase of reform was about reaching the 400,000 or more uninsured, this phase is about relief for all 6-1/2 million Massachusetts residents.”

The challenge before us is big but we cannot be defeated by its complexity. The good news is that there’s an emerging consensus about solutions.

Some in the industry say the state needs only to lay out a framework for reforming the way we deliver care and the market will take care of the rest. It is true many good things happening in the market…but we need to scale these up, we need to set up common expectations and standards, and we need to make sure that the savings are passed on to consumers and patients in the form of lower premiums. The goal is not to punish any part of the industry or to return to the days of price regulation….The goal of this proposal is to keep the pressure on all of us.

Every day, he said, he appreciates more the 2006 reform extending near-universal access to health insurance
I also understand more clearly every day why cost control was put off to another day. Because if you think access was hard, wait until you take on cost control.

Some very powerful interests “have deep stakes in maintaining the status quo. Our job is to balance all the interests but always to strike the balance in favor of the public good.”