Well, this is encouraging: Terry Murray has started a serious conversation about controlling health care costs, and Charlie Baker seems to be singing the same tune:
I think given the rate of health care increases in Massachusetts I think that’s an idea whose time may have come … I’m a big believer in a more informed conversation about what’s driving up health care costs and if [the public hearing] process is the only way to put that question before the public and the body politic and everybody else, then it is worth considering, although it does come with significant downsides.
Murray’s ideas are straight-down-the-middle consensus for controlling the increase in health care costs; they’re all relatively uncontroversial, but mostly in a speculative way. For instance, we don’t know for sure whether electronic medical records will actually help control costs, and actually they would require a very signficant upfront investment in the new technology.
But I would love to think our political establishment is really coming around to the ugly reality of health care costs. This is the vast, underlying issue behind all the municipal woes and property tax battles; and the new health care law simply will not work without boldly and aggressively dealing with the issue. The legislature is looking at the budget numbers year after year; they’re hearing the complaints from municipalities and taxpayers; and they’re ready to do at least something.
Maybe we’re seeing the tough-mindedness that Murray is known for. Good on her.