Health care


MBR's Health Care Task Force

Health Care Principles
A Healthier Bottom Line: Distilling Best Practices in Corporate Wellness 
Business Community Participation in Health Reform: The Massachusetts Experience
Framework for Reform
Roundtable Submits Testimony on Senate Health Care Legislation, Advocates for Cost Containment, Major Reforms
MBR Advocates for Major Medicaid Reforms, Unemployment Insurance Savings in State Budget Package to Fund Health Care
Roundtable Joins Coalition for Health Coverage & Care
Principles for the Implementation of Health Care Payment Reform in Massachusetts

Health Care
The Roundtable’s health care public policy advocacy historically has focused on three areas: 1) Consumerism–activating consumers to become more accountable for selecting higher-value health care services by combining value based insurance designs and provider specific cost & quality information, giving them more financial and decision-making responsibility for their health care selections; 2) Wellness–improving health by developing innovative benefits and programs that promote wellness, prevent disease and manage chronic conditions; and 3) Payment Reform–moving toward a value-based model and addressing the chronic underpayment by public payers.

More recently, MBR’s Health Care Task Force confirmed the consumer-focused theme, and focused on three key areas: Competition, Transparency and Innovation, with sub-themes focused on the use of data/analytics and defining value.

While health care in Massachusetts—near universal access to it and the high quality of it—remains a key competitive advantage and major economic engine in the state, the rising costs of health care continue to create headwinds, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses across the state.

Based on the work of the Health Care Task Force and with input from its members, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable believes that as the Commonwealth continues to improve quality and work to reduce costs in health care, all stakeholders should be guided by the following principles:

  • Emphasize Stability Amid National Changes. In the event of national changes to the Affordable Care Act, there must be a smooth and stable transition that does not jeopardize access to coverage and care by taking actions that would unnecessarily result in: fewer health insurance options for consumers; significant premium increases for consumers and employers; or reduced access to care. Policymakers should consider a 'first, do no harm' approach, and craft designs for a competitive, private health insurance market that works for consumers and employers.
  • Promote Competition. Massachusetts must promote competition in every area of the health care system to drive down costs and improve quality outcomes for patients. Measures of success moving forward must reflect the paradigm embodied in public policy that envisions better health outcomes through more coordinated systems of care, while simultaneously lowering the cost of premiums and health care costs for consumers. The state should be prepared to remedy situations of market dysfunction where lack of competition limits these policy goals.
  • Encourage Transparency and Use of Data. Employers and consumers need transparency to understand how their decisions impact health insurance premiums and the total cost of care. Stakeholders must provide timely and reliable access to data and analytics that can serve as an enabler of innovation in health care, and ensure paying for value. Data-driven decision making is a key tenet for improving the overall strength of the health care system. Data must be readily and publicly available in order to ensure that consumers are accessing the highest quality care in the most cost efficient manner.
  • Invest in Innovation to Improve Value. State public policy must help create the appropriate legal and regulatory environment to encourage innovation. New treatments and medical devices are delivering enormous value and vastly improving the lives of patients. Investments in these innovations are essential, however investments that do not increase value to patients are not. Balancing these interests will help separate true value-based innovation from marginal enhancements, while sharing information will help define meaningful value-based innovation and increase efficiency in the system. Government must reform outdated regulations that impair providers and payers from offering high quality care in the most affordable settings to consumers.
  • Prioritize Wellness and Prevention. The Roundtable continues to believe in the long-term value of investing in wellness initiatives that keep people healthier and reduce the need for costly interventions. As part of this commitment to wellness and prevention, the system must include a strong focus on areas such as oral health, behavioral health, prevention of addiction, and managing chronic conditions, among others. The impact over the long-term from smart investments in these areas will lead to better health outcomes for patients and significant cost savings throughout the system. The state should continue to follow and encourage successful wellness programs implemented by employers of all sizes throughout the Commonwealth.

    Policy Priorities

    • Federal Law Changes. Monitor impacts of federal law changes by participating in state efforts, including as a member of the Coalition on Cost and Coverage, to ensure stability during uncertainty over the federal government’s direction on health care policy, opposing outcomes that would result in fewer health insurance options for consumers; significant premium increases for consumers and employers; or reduced access to care.
    • Medicaid. Collaborate with business organizations and public policy makers to address Medicaid costs in fiscal year 2018, as well as over the long term.
    • Health Care Costs. Engage in policy dialogue as a member of the Health Policy Commission Advisory Council and work with business organizations to address the cost of health care in Massachusetts, particularly premiums paid by employers, with a focus on key themes such as competition, transparency, value and wellness.

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