Massachusetts lawmakers are struggling to rein in on rising health care costs, but a solution may be on its way as the state reaches the conclusion of a three-year long study. The study concerns the state of Massachusetts’ health care system and how insurance companies, hospitals and doctors interact with one another. The state is not the first to consider sweeping changes to its health care system, but it may be the first in enacting such changes. Legislators are currently working toward a plan they call “global payments.”
The basic premise of the plan revolves around keeping the sick healthy, or as healthy as they can be considering their condition. This is meant to replace the fee-for-service plan currently in place, which incentivizes excessive care. The state’s insurance companies have long warned that health care providers have been charging excessive amounts of money for hospital visits and medical procedures. Insurers claim that this drives up premiums.
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The global payment system would change the way consumers interact with health care providers by spreading the cost of health care amongst those participating in associated health insurance programs. It will also put limits on how much hospitals can charge for care and repeat visits. The state’s insurance industry supports the measure, but it has gained a great deal of opposition from the medical community.