The HPC's Role in Massachusetts Health Care Reform

In recognition of ten years of cost containment in Massachusetts, a new video and interactive digital timeline from the HPC feature reflections on the past, present, and future of the Commonwealth’s ambitious journey of health care reform.

Table of Contents

Reflection Video:

a screen shot of the start of the beginning of the "Ten Years of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission" video. Screenshot shows the light blue 10th anniversary logo on a white background, with a transparent orange "play" button in the middle of the image

Interactive Timeline:

A screen grab of the interactive timeline linked in the previous paragraph. The HPC logo is visible on a navy blue background, while various items appear on the timeline.

In 2012, with a broad consensus to restrain rapidly increasing health care costs, the Commonwealth enacted a comprehensive new law, Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, the centerpiece of which is the innovative health care cost growth benchmark – a first-in-the-nation, statewide target for sustainable growth in total health care spending. The law also established the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission to help monitor and guide this effort.

In the ten years since the passage of Chapter 224, Massachusetts total health care spending growth (including both public and private payers) has remained at or below national growth rates, a reversal from previous trends that accounts for billions in avoided spending for Massachusetts residents. Even so, by the end of the decade, spending growth was accelerating and above the benchmark from 2017 to 2019. Further, since 2020, the public health and economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the importance of the goals Chapter 224 sought to promote. As the Commonwealth continues to navigate the impacts of the pandemic – and as providers are facing significant headwinds with workforce, supply chain, and inflation issues – the need to create a more affordable, equitable, and high-quality health care system is even more apparent.

This anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on ten years of Massachusetts experience, data, and evidence, to chart a bold path forward for the next decade. The HPC’s 2022 Health Care Cost Trends Report, published in September 2022, includes six policy recommendations that outline a comprehensive vision to reduce health care cost growth, promote affordability, and advance equity.

In addition, in January 2023, the HPC released a reflection video featuring interviews with former and current members of the HPC’s Board of Commissioners on the Commonwealth’s health care reform journey and the vision for the future. To further chronicle the milestones of the last decade, the HPC developed an interactive timeline of significant events  with links to relevant research, reports, and other resources.  

Together, these releases recognize efforts made thus far to advance a more transparent, accountable, and equitable health care system, and call for a renewed commitment to these goals in the years ahead – because the residents of the Commonwealth need and deserve affordable health care.

Date published: January 25, 2023

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