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Morning Must-Read: David Cutler and Steven Walsh: Will the Country Look to Massachusetts Again? « news@JAMA

David Cutler and Steven Walsh: JAMA Forum: Will the Country Look to Massachusetts Again?: "The centerpiece of the current Massachusetts reform effort... a target for the growth of medical spending in the state. Spending on medical care should not increase more rapidly than the long-run growth of the state economy, a value forecast to be 3.6% annually.... There were a range of opinions about the target, ranging from the view that it was impossible to predict cost growth and so a target was not appropriate, to the view that medical costs were so high that the target ought to be set at no annual growth or even below.... If the target is breached, the entities—for example, clinicians and hospitals—found to be most responsible for the high rate increases are required to develop and implement a performance improvement plan. The plan can be negotiated over, but state government regulation of rates is prohibited under the law. The power of the target lies not in its enforcement backstop, but in the collective sense that the public and private leaders of Massachusetts have committed to it. Consistent with this, contracts between payers and those who offer health care services are being rewritten to ensure that cost increases do not exceed that goal..."