Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Responsible Thing to Do

Last January 19, I published a posting titled “More Income for Massachusetts Hospitals?” It was about the current effort in Massachusetts to achieve universal health care insurance coverage. It concluded that the main financial effect would be increased income for hospitals, thus further fueling the health care cost inflation that is already out of control.

Today’s Boston Globe carries an article headlined “Care bill may be a hospital bonanza.” It suggests that the latest version of the universal coverage legislation as proposed by the state’s House of Representatives would provide $270 million of new revenue to Massachusetts hospitals. The equivalent number for the Senate bill as passed last fall is $540 million.

The article goes on to point out that “A good chunk of that extra revenue will go to several of Boston’s prestigious teaching hospitals that have in recent years made huge profits.”

An obvious solution would be for hospitals and doctors to volunteer to lower their rates to offset their increased income.

It’s a lot to ask, but it would be the responsible thing to do.

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