This week's release of reports on both national and statewide healthcare expenditures paints a very clear picture of the success Massachusetts has had in reining in healthcare cost increases.
Just-released National Health Expenditure Data by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary shows that Massachusetts is outpacing the national trend in reducing healthcare spending growth. The U.S. numbers show 3.6% health expenditure growth nationally, which happens to be the same as the healthcare cost growth benchmark the state established.
And the state's Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) issued a report showing that Massachusetts total healthcare expenditure growth rate was just 2.3% – a number well below both the state's healthcare cost growth benchmark and the national growth rate.
While the metrics used in the national and state reports are not identical, they do provide strong evidence that Massachusetts is doing something notable and impressive in the attempt to keep health expenditure growth down.
The report on the national healthcare expenditure trend indicates that while healthcare spending is, indeed, slowing overall in the U.S., it's clear that Massachusetts' sweeping state-specific reforms are paying off.
Massachusetts hospitals have been on the forefront of helping to bend the cost curve. They have embraced alternative payment models; acute care providers, post acutes and physician group practices are collaborating to create integrated care models; and hospitals are carrying out tough, cost-cutting measures – all of which have resulted in very real, very measureable reductions in health expenditure growth. Continuing to bend the cost trend continues to be a challenge, but Massachusetts hospitals are facing that challenge head-on.
Our state also enjoys the highest rate of insured residents in the U.S. – 97% – and this week's CHIA report also showed that from 2012 to 2013 – the most recent data – average premiums and benefit levels remained virtually unchanged.
When healthcare expenditures are growing at a rate below the benchmark set by the state, when average premiums are remaining stable, when a concerted effort is underway to improve the quality of care and ease access, and when Massachusetts outperforms the nation, we should collectively take pride in the increasing value that the Massachusetts healthcare system offers to citizens of the commonwealth.