- Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Media Contact for Statement from HPC Chair Stuart Altman
Matthew Kitsos, Press Secretary
Boston — The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) today issued the following statement on the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) Annual Report on the Performance of the Massachusetts Health Care System. Please attribute the statement to Dr. Stuart H. Altman, Chairman.
“The state’s health care spending growth of 1.6% – a full two points below the 2017 benchmark target of 3.6% – is the lowest observed since the Health Policy Commission was established six years ago. In fact, since 2013 the growth in health care spending has been, on average, below the benchmark and lower than national growth trends in every single year. Twelve years after leading the country in expanding health care access, Massachusetts is now leading the country again in lowering health care cost growth.
“Underneath the headline number, however, are some areas that require further examination. For example, public insurance programs overall reported minimal expenditure growth while commercial health care spending grew by 3.1%. Additionally, while total health care spending growth is very low, there are concerning trends related to the affordability of care and coverage. Out-of-pocket spending for consumers and premiums for small employers both rose faster than the benchmark, inflation, and wages, with 5.7% and 6.9% growth, respectively. Additionally, spending growth for hospital outpatient and prescription drugs continue to increase faster than the benchmark. Finally, while the adoption of alternative payment methods increased significantly among MassHealth members, the commercially insured market experienced a small decline, and remains steady at around 40% of the market.
“The HPC will dive deeper into the data and policy solutions at our upcoming Health Care Cost Trends Hearing on October 16 and 17.”