The Wall Street Journal did a recent review of what is going on in Massachusetts.   You may not be able to see the link unless you have a subscription.  Let me review:

  • 79% of the newly insured are on public programs.
  • Health costs will consume some 54% of the state budget in 2012 up from about 24% in 2001.
  • Over the same period state health spending in real terms has jumped by 59%, while education has fallen 15%, police and firemen by 11% and roads and bridges by 23%.
  • Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than any other state and therefore more than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Costs are 27% higher than the U.S. average, 15% higher when adjusted for the state’s higher wages and its concentration of academic medical centers and specialists.

Maybe you can call this political spin. Maybe the WSJ somehow cherry picked the statistics they wanted.  It doesn’t matter because this wasn’t the most upsetting part to me.  This was:

Under the plan, all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and other providers must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure—that is, permission to practice. They’ll be required to track and report their financial performance, price and cost trends, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share and other metrics.

I have said this over and over again.  The quality movement is unproven and bad for healthcare and now Massachusetts is putting it in play and using our licensure as hostage!!!

Want some more? Here:

But Massachusetts takes 360-degree surveillance and converts it into a panopticon prison. An 11-member board known as the Health Policy Commission will use the data to set and enforce rules to ensure that total Massachusetts health spending, public and private, grows no more than projected gross state product through 2017, and 0.5 percentage points lower thereafter. (And Paul Ryan’s Medicare projections are unrealistic?)

No registered provider is allowed to make “any material change to its operations or governance structure,” the bill says, without the commission’s approval. The commission can also rewrite the terms of provider contracts with insurers and payment levels and methods if they are “deemed to be excessive.”

As the commission polices the market, it can decide to supervise the behavior of any provider that exceeds some to-be-specified individual benchmark—that is, doctors and hospitals that are spending too much on patient care. These delinquents must submit a “performance improvement plan” that the commission must endorse.

I told you this was coming.   And yet the AAFP and AMA walk right into it……..asses first….with a bottle of vaseline to make it easier.