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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The canary in the Mass.coal mine health care is looking bad

See here for comments from Dr. Wes regarding the events as they unfold in the preview to PPACA that health care in Massachusetts is turning out to be. At least, it is possible for physicians to vote with their feet something that will be harder when the entire country becomes Massachusettsasized.

Here is the wording of the proposed law:

Every health care provider licensed in the commonwealth which provides covered services to a person covered under “Affordable Health Plans” must provide such service to any such person, as a condition of their licensure, and must accept payment at the lowest of the statutory reimbursement rate, an amount equal to the actuarial equivalent of the statutory reimbursement rate, or the applicable contract rate with the carrier for the carriers product offering with the lowest level benefit plan available to the general public within the Connector, other than the young adult plan, and may not balance bill such person for any amount in excess of the amount paid by the carrier pursuant to this section, other than applicable co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.

Does this really mean that a physician accepting a patient in their "Affordable Health Plan" must accept the payment offered as a condition of holding a medical license in Massachusetts? Does that preclude a retainer practice in that state? Maybe the bill will not pass, but the cost overrun problem there begs for legislative action.

A Rand Corporation analysis projected that the cost of medical care was increasing at 8 % faster than the state GDP. Mass. has the highest medical insurance premiums in the country and wait times to see physicians are rising in the state that is said to have more docs per capita than any other state, a situation that might be changed if that bill is signed into law.

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