May 8th, 2012 by David E. Williams of the Health business blog
There’s been no shortage of interest in the Massachusetts health care system this election year, and the level of attention is certain to be sustained as Mitt Romney, who signed near universal health reform into law as Governor in 2006, picks up the Republican mantle. Commentators –even those who aren’t trying to score political points against federal health reform that’s modeled on Massachusetts– tend to emphasize the role of government and reform’s inability to control costs.
But Massachusetts has a vibrant private health care financing sector. All the major commercial health plans are at the top of the national rankings and are focused on quality and cost containment. And after years of hefty premium increases, customers will be seeing renewal rates that are nearly flat.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS MA) is the largest health plan in the state, and is making substantial progress with its innovative Alternative Quality Contract (AQC). In this podcast interview, BCBSMA CEO Andrew Dreyfus and I discuss:
- Why premiums are stabilizing
- The role of BCBS in cost containment, and how things have changed from the early days of managed care
- How the AQC emphasizes quality
- Opportunities for employers to play a role
- How state government fits in
- Potential impact of the Supreme Court’s review of the federal law
- Health care issues we will be debating five years from now
You can read the transcript here.