Health care in Massachusetts: Affordable or not?

Not affordable: From this week’s paper

Rising health care costs have outpaced the incomes of Massachusetts families over the past decade, despite efforts by the state to control medical expenses, according to a report released Wednesday.

Affordable: Two weeks ago.

Despite concerns about rising health care costs, the head of the state’s largest and most expensive network of doctors and hospitals said Thursday that health care is “very affordable” in Massachusetts.partners

Partners HealthCare chief executive Dr. David Torchiana, in remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that health care costs are higher here than in other parts of the country, largely because Massachusetts is home to several large teaching hospitals whose training and research programs make them expensive to run.

But considering the high incomes in Massachusetts, it’s not so bad, Torchiana said: “Health care is very affordable in Massachusetts.”

To help make sense of this and other health policy debates, check out the latest Health Wonk Review.

New Commonhealth and Ozzy’s genes

Not in the same story

Check out the new and improved Commonhealth on WBUR.org While you’re there, check out Radio Boston’s conversation with new BC/BS CEO Andrew Dreyfus, in particular the discussion of global payments.

From Commonhealth: Massachusetts is the leading laboratory for health care reform in the nation. It is also the hub of medical innovation. But as the nation looks on, what is the reality on the ground here? We’d like CommonHealth to be your go-to source for news, conversation and analysis about these historic efforts as they unfold. Your hosts are Carey Goldberg, former Boston bureau chief of The New York Times, and Rachel Zimmerman, former health and medicine reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

With BHN and White Coat Notes at the Globe, Boston is now a three health-news-blogs town. (Not to mention a lot of niche blogs like The Health Blawg The Health Business blog and Nature Network Boston.)  In blogging, as in  journalism, competition is good. We can see who poaches someone else’s story first.

With that in mind, they did beat me on the link to Julie Rover’s NPR piece on primary care, which features a doc from Maine. But do note that none of the other blogs have this important story:

The Weekly World News — a supermarket tabloid now run as a supplement to the Sun— makes reference to Knome, the Cambridge genome sequencing company. As reported elsewhere, the company is sequencing Ozzy Osbourne’s genome.

Ozzy is interested in finding out why he has survived but the study may well produce an incidental benefit to medical science in general. For instance, it may be that some variant in his genes make this liver better than most at breaking down toxic substances. It that’s true, gene therapies based on Ozzy’s cells could provide powerful weapons in the fight against disease.

Here @ NNB, we scan the all the best medical reporting for links to local scientists.

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