"That bill was not an end in itself," Patrick said at a State House hearing. "It was a marker we put down about the kind of community we wanted to live in. ... Now it's time to do it again."
The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing is holding its first hearing today on a bill that would require hospitals and physicians to be paid based on what Patrick called "whole-patient care" instead of being paid for individual tests and treatments. The aim is in part to emphasize more preventive care and better care of patients with chronic illnesses while encouraging people to be treated more frequently in lower-cost community hospitals.
Patrick highlighted some efforts underway by insurers and hospitals to change their own systems. Some business groups have argued the state should let such market-driven programs happen instead of regulating systemic changes.
"These are good steps," Patrick said. "But we need to scale these up. We need a set of common expectations and standards, and we need to assure that the savings are passed on to consumers and patients in the form of lower premiums."
The bill proposed by the governor would give the state more latitude to reject insurance premium increases deemed unreasonable. And it would create an advisory council, including consumers, to monitor the changes in the years ahead.
Patrick said the committee will hear from powerful health care groups that "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," he said.
About white coat notes
|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor
Elizabeth Comeau, Senior Health Producer