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Massachusetts, Boston. Without action from Congress, and continued commitment and leadership from the Massachusetts legislature and health care regulators, health care premiums and deductibles with employer provided insurance will nearly double by 2016, according to a new report released today by MASSPIRG.
“If unchecked, health care premiums could double by 2016,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “The health care reforms in President Obama’s economic recovery plans are important first steps to addressing this crisis.”
MASSPIRG attributes the high cost to wasteful health spending and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that profit from it. The report concludes that one out of three dollars spent on health care fuels profits for special interests without delivering better health care for patients.
The report spotlights two important categories of wasteful health spending:
· $43% of hospital spending each year was spent on inappropriate, ineffective and uncoordinated care which can actually cause harm to patients.
· An estimated $2.7% of health spending, the equivalent of $72.9 billion, is wasted on red tape created by bloated insurance company bureaucracy.
Cummings lauds the recovery plan’s $24.1billion investment in the health care infrastructure. “The stimulus bill includes funding of health information technology, evidence-based prevention, and comparative effectiveness research will enable reforms which we discuss in the report.”
The U.S. PIRG report, Health Care in Crisis: How Special Interests Could Double Health Care Costs and How We Can Stop It, calls for additional longer-term reforms that crack down on drug company marketing, rein in insurance industry red tape, and reform provider payment to encourage more effective medical care. While much of those reforms were passed here in Massachusetts in July as part of Chapter 305, the Health Care Cost Containment Bill, we need the reforms to be adopted nationally to apply to employer sponsored health plans and Medicare.
Brian Rosman, Research Director of Health Care For All, applauded the report's release. "As the Commonwealth begins to implement its broad cost control agenda, this report reminds us all of the costs of inaction," he said. "Consumers demand real reform that makes health care affordable for everyone."
“This year, a new President and a new Congress have an opportunity to pass broad health reform that tames the waste, inefficiency, and skewed incentives that drive up our health care costs,” noted Cummings. Massachusetts families can’t afford to miss this opportunity.”
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