Massachusetts Medical Society: Cost of Health Care

Cost of Health Care

Health Cost


Massachusetts is one of the most expensive states for health care, and costs continue to rise. Escalating health care costs cause financial burdens for patients and reduce access to preventive, longitudinal care. Rising premiums, high-deductible plans, and exorbitant drug prices have taxed not only individual patients seeking medical care, but also the system at large, including physicians and all other health care providers. Redundancy obligated by government and payers is driving up physician time requirements, system costs, and overall frustration without improving patient care.

The patient-level effects of high medical costs may lead to an even greater increase of costs as time goes on. Evidence shows that patients with high cost sharing and high deductibles tend to delay necessary care. This tendency exacerbates chronic health care issues, leading to worsening overall health, more serious complications, and higher cost interventions for patients’ conditions in the future.

Although system-wide factors drive high medical bills, state-based efforts may be an important avenue toward reducing care costs. Due to efforts in the Commonwealth, health care expenditures and physician costs increased more slowly than the HPC-established cost growth benchmark, and MMS believes that physicians have played an integral part in the reduction of health care cost growth in Massachusetts, but challenges remain for our health care community.


The Massachusetts Medical Society acknowledges the unsustainable escalation of health care costs and is committed to partnering with stakeholders to address system-wide mechanisms to control cost escalation while continuing to provide high value, high quality care for patients.

The MMS advocates for streamlined quality measurement across federal and state payers and for reduced prior authorization requirements in all parts of health care delivery.

The MMS supports innovative solutions to high drug costs and advocates for reform to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.

The MMS supports:

  • Continued growth and refinement of alternative payment models
  • Administrative simplification in quality measurement, prior authorization, and regulatory requirements
  • Disciplined reporting of price and quality information with reduced redundancy
  • Establishment of rational financial incentives for patients to seek high-value care
  • Transparency related to coverage and cost-sharing policies for patients and physicians
  • Robust educational resources to educate patients about insurance options and coverage
  • Insurer applications made for patients to understand their coverage more easily
  • Reducing the costs of prescription drugs


The Massachusetts Medical Society is actively engaged in partnerships to study and reduce costs in the Commonwealth.

MMS filed and testified in support of legislation to address drive high-value health care in Massachusetts.

Additional information about statewide cost trends can be found in the most recent Annual Health Care Cost Trends Report for Massachusetts.

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