Beacon Hill was the scene of great fanfare earlier this month when Governor Deval Patrick signed controversial new healthcare reform legislation into law. The governor proudly proclaimed that Massachusetts was “the first to crack the code” on the problem of ever-increasing healthcare costs.
The mood outside the statehouse, however, has been far more sober. In reality, Patrick’s new law will restrict patient access to vital medical treatments and squeeze a hospital system that’s already in dire financial straits.
Described as “immensely complex” by the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the core of the 349-page law aims to control the state’s mounting medical costs by indexing healthcare expenditures to the gross state product (GSP) — that is, the state’s total economic output. Starting next year, healthcare spending will be allowed to grow no faster than GSP — and between 2017 and 2022, no faster than a half percentage point below GSP.