Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, along with other officials, has drafted new plans to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program, called MassHealth. This will be the largest overhaul that the program has seen in the past 20 years, marking a significant shift in the health insurance space and potentially ensuring that more consumers will have access to the coverage that they need. MassHealth currently provides coverage to some 1.8 million low-income people throughout the states and represents that majority of the state’s spending.
According to the state government, the costs associated with MassHealth will continue to grow, reaching a point where they are no longer manageable unless significant changes are made to the program. Currently, the costs of the program are growing faster than the state’s revenue, creating a significant financial problem for the state that could affect its ability to provide health insurance coverage to low-income residents. State officials are considering moving MassHealth away from its currently system, which involves the program paying for the vast bulk of medical services being provided.
The alternative would be a system known as “accountable care,” which involves health care providers and hospitals paying a set amount of money to treat patients. Through such a system, care providers and hospitals would receive compensation through the MassHealth program. State officials believe that this would help cut costs associated with the program and ensure that these costs remain manageable in years to come.
Such a system is becoming more popular throughout the United States. Governments are eager to mitigate costs associated with health insurance programs, but do not want to have these efforts negatively affect people’s access to the coverage that they need. By using an accountable care system, costs could be mitigated by a modest degree without affecting how people get their coverage or dictating how this coverage can be used.