Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Massachusetts Danger

In the 8/20/2012 Forbes, Sally Pipes describes how, "Gov. Deval Patrick's New Health Law Is Flat-Out Dangerous".

In particular, the state government will be imposing new cost controls enforced by new bureaucracies:
Healthcare providers that don't hit the government's new annual spending targets will face serious consequences. Two new state agencies -- the Health Policy Commission and the Center for Health Information Analysis -- have been created to discipline them.
Physicians who fail to reduce costs can be compelled to file "performance improvement plans." These filings are essentially designed to embarrass struggling hospitals. If providers don't adhere to their improvement plans, the agencies can fine them up to $500,000. And there don’t appear to be any means for appeal or judicial review of these fines.
Encumbering physicians with yet another layer of red tape is no way to reduce costs. Massachusetts Medical Society President Richard Aghababian has voiced misgivings that "the bill's very stringent reporting requirements" will be particularly burdensome to "the smaller medical practices in the Commonwealth," which generally lack the resources needed to shoulder such a hefty administrative burden.
The net result:
When costs go up for healthcare providers, they have to compensate somehow -- perhaps by laying off staff, restricting treatment options, or in the most severe cases, closing up shop entirely.
Ultimately, that leaves patients with fewer providers to treat them -- and thus substantially longer wait times. The Massachusetts Medical Society has predicted that Gov. Patrick’s law will force many hospitals to cut staff and result in delayed care for some patients.
Bay Staters already have to wait 45 days on average for an appointment with a family medicine doctor, according to the Society. That’s a 50 percent jump in wait time since 2010.
And there will be more problems to come unless the government takeover of medicine is reversed.

(Read the full text of "Gov. Deval Patrick's New Health Law Is Flat-Out Dangerous".)