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The Attorney General’s first annual report examining cost trends and cost drivers in the Massachusetts healthcare market with the goal to identify, understand and explain why costs are escalating faster than general inflation. The report found price increases is the chief cost driver in Massachusetts over the last few years and that prices vary significantly within the same geographic area, unrelated to quality of care, the health of the population,the kind of facility care is received or delivery costs. These price variations were found to correlate with provider market power. The report calls for increasing transparency and standardization, improving market function, engaging consumers with decision-making tools and prompt action prohibiting insurer-provider contracts perpetuating market disparities.
The Aloha state has some of the lowest healthcare costs in the United States, according to The New York Times. Since 1974, all Hawaiian employers have been required to provide insurance to employees working 20 or more hours per week. Residents also have some of the least expensive insurance premiums in the country. While the exact reason has yet to be discovered, some suggest Hawaii’s successes in efficiencies, such as adopting an electronic medical record system, have been key to keeping costs down.
Atul Gawande, a physician who visited McAllen, Texas, discovered a broken healthcare system as described in The New Yorker. Overutilization, rather than population health and quality, seemed to explain the vast amount of spending, making the city one of the most expensive healthcare markets in the country.
The Long-Term Care Community Choices Act has been signed by the Governor, providing $1.2 billion to traditional nursing homes and community-based services providers in Tennessee’s managed care Medicaid program, according to the National Governors Association. The law provides consumers more choices for residential care providers and allows Medicaid funds to serve more people in cost-effective home and community settings.