I mentioned this yesterday; today Sen. Murray came out with her health care cost agenda. AP's got the rundown:
BOSTON—Massachusetts would be required to adopt a statewide electronic medical records system and be the first state to ban pharmaceutical marketing gifts under a bill unveiled by Senate President Therese Murray on Monday.
The bill is also designed to rein in spiraling health care costs in part by authorizing a public review of any insurance company submitting rate increases of more than 7 percent a year.
Naturally, the pharma companies are real, real concerned that the marketing ban could “negatively impact information flow to practitioners and ultimately hurt patient care.” Well, something's flowing, that's for sure …
The insurers are on board — not too surprisingly, since the cheaper they can make their plans (at the same profit margin, of course), the more folks can be required to buy them. The question is how much they're willing to take a grilling on how their own practices are contributing to premium inflation. What does that “public review” consist of?
I'm not so impressed with the $25 million for electronic medical records — not that we're rolling in cash, but I've heard that it's going to take more like $500 million over five years to implement properly. So I don't know what kind of magic Murray's got in mind.