The good doctors at Partners Health Care are not likely to be happy with that solution. In August, the state’s health care quality and cost council announced it was scrapping—for now—efforts to publicly post overall patient death rates for individual Massachusetts hospitals. It seems there is no “‘gold standard, ” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Judy Ann Bigby. The methodologies may yield confusing and inconsistent results. If that’s the case, Massachusetts residents may wonder what Baker has in mind. The shopping solution assumes that consumers should choose health care like canned peas. An ethicist I heard termed that approach “simplistic market rhetoric.”
Baker would also let insurance companies off the hook for providing some benefits—prescription drugs, for example. He talks about giving people the kinds of choices they had before and they were happy with. I guess that means they were happy digging into their pockets to pay for their medicines.
Giving more choice is also the mantra of independent candidate Tim Cahill, who says: “We have to give people more choices and lessen the number of mandates on our basic plan.” Does he want to shred state law? Dismantling, he says, is his last option, but the law must be fixed and improved. How? “We’re not going to be able to subsidize as many people with as much subsidization, and that’s something that everyone’s got to understand because we’re not in an environment or an economy where we can give things away for free? Does that mean that some residents will lose their widely touted coverage? What happens to the state’s claim that its law covers almost everyone? If Cahill is right, what does that sayfor national reform, which also calls for lots of subsidies for lots of people?
So there you have it—a stalemate in the health care trenches, and WBUR reveals it all. Is there any wonder the public has tuned out?