BHN Report: Massachusetts health costs hearings

The Commonwealth is getting serious about health care costs. Increases are unrelenting and over the top.

In Massachusetts, health costs are rising at three times the rate of wages, according to testimony below. Rising prices are eating away at company profits, family savings, worker’s wages and public health programs.

Studies, bills, hearings. Will we get action?

See the Globe’s reporting on the ongoing hearings on health costs and the push toward global payments. Instead of paying per procedure, global payments cover costs per patient. The idea is to encourage quality instead of overtreatment.

The testimony continues on Thursday and Friday. The state is streaming the hearings live and posting copies of speaker statements.

BHN caught the end of Monday’s testimony, which came from Harvard Professor Nancy Turnbull and a panel of consumer groups. Below find some unedited audio from the panel, which was called “Consumer Experiences with Health Care Cost Trends.”

Nancy Turnbull, Senior Lecturer on Health Policy and Associate Dean for Educational Programs, Harvard School of Public Health.

“In Massachusetts, health insurance premiums are increasing faster than income, which is creating a crisais of affordaility for individual and families.”

Cheri Andes, Lead Organizer, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

“GBIO believes that this trend of out-of-control health care costs is a moral issue as well as an economic one.”

Robert Restuccia, Executive Director, Community Catalyst, Inc.

Matt Selig, Executive Director, Health Law Advocates

“In our work with individual clients we find that consumers still consistently face the burden of out-of-pocket health care costs aside from premiums, deductibles and copayments.”

Deborah Banda, Massachusetts State Director, AARP

Written testimony

Finally, the March Madness review of the Health Wonk Review is up. I live with a couple of Tar Heel fans. So, with the the boys’ team out,  our motto here is — Go Big Red!  The Yankee half of the family has Cornell links.

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