For Immediate Release - September 07, 2016

HPC Statement on CHIA's Annual Report on the Performance of the Massachusetts Health Care System

Statement from Dr. Stuart H. Altman, Health Economist and Chair, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission

“The CHIA report has mixed news, reporting both positive trends in the market and areas for concern, chief among them that pharmaceutical spending growth grew in the double digits (10.1%) for the second year, accounting for over one-third of the overall growth in Total Health Care Expenditures (THCE) in 2015.

On the positive side, the CHIA report found that, on a per member per month basis, spending for the commercially insured grew only 1.7% and spending growth in the MassHealth program declined significantly compared to last year. In addition, CHIA found that the quality of Massachusetts providers continues to be high. However, even with these positive trends, the burden of health care spending on consumers is increasing, with reported growth in consumer out-of-pocket costs outpacing inflation, wage growth, and the overall cost of insurance coverage.

The bottom line is we need to know more about where and why costs are increasing. The HPC is anxious to dive deeper into the data and the policy issues they raise at the Health Care Cost Trends Hearing on October 17 and 18. Through this and other public forums, and our ongoing policy development and programs, the HPC will continue to push the industry to find solutions to create a more transparent, accountable and affordable health care system on behalf of consumers and businesses in Massachusetts.”