For John, BLUF: Work needs to be done on health care costs, but the prime focus must be on the health of the individual. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In Massachusetts, thanks to the 2012 health care cost containment law, we have a Center for Health Information Analysis. They have issued their first report on total health care spending today. It was reported on line by The [Lowell] Sun today. The lede:
While consumers saw their health insurance premiums and benefit levels stabilize in 2013, overall state spending on health care in Massachusetts climbed to over $50 billion and efforts to move away from fee-for-service care "stalled," according to a new report.While the article in The Boston Globe does not address the key issue of health care quality, the Sun article does. It quotes Center for Health Information Analysis Executive Director Aron Boros as saying:
"We don't have any compelling evidence that there's clearly higher quality associated with higher costs and so we continue to look at that," he said.This is a key issue. We need to be improving the health care for those who have existed without insurance for years and also the level of health care effectiveness for those with serious illnesses. Saving money by constricting health care options for some is not the answer. Nor is stopping our efforts to find new treatments. Want to just abandon a search for a vaccine for Ebola?
I do agree there are areas for savings that are not being explore effectively. The homeless is one such area. Taking someone off the streets and putting them in an apartment can save tens of thousands of dollars a year for that one person.
Of course history has examples of successful cost containment. Germany had its Acton T-4.
Regards — Cliff