New Year’s Break Required Reading: Achieving Accountable and Affordable Care

We expect 2011 to be the year of cost control for Massachusetts health policy. Governor Patrick and both chambers’ legislative leadership have made clear that this is priority one — and we agree.

This means complicated proposals around ACOs, global payments, medical homes and more. Our Campaign For Better Care has released its 10 principles that we will be working towards in the upcoming year.

So for all the State House staffers, policy center thinkers and stakeholder meeting attendees looking for something good to read over the next week, we strongly recommend Achieving Accountable and Affordable Care: Key Health Policy Choices to Move the Health Care System Forward (pdf), written by Judy Feder and David Cutler for the Center For American Progress.

The report (the recommendations are summarized above), although focused somewhat on payment reform in the federal Medicare context, is a strong introduction to the key issues the state will need to confront in setting up ground rules for ACOs, either through legislation affecting all payers, or using the state’s role as a purchaser of care. The report pays close attention to the consumer role in ACOs:

We believe that consumers should be active partners in improving the quality of their care. That means consumers should decide whether to join an ACO, and if they do, they should be able to count on rules for consumer protection and creative ways to benefit financially from seeking quality care at lower costs.

Read it – and use the comments to let us know what you think.
-Brian Rosman

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