Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on CHIA Annual Report

Massachusetts Medical Society on CHIA Annual Report

The Massachusetts Medical Society is grateful for the Center for Health Information & Analysis’ (CHIA) efforts to collect, analyze, and share invaluable data and information regarding health care spending in the Commonwealth.

The data contained in CHIA’s Annual Report underscores the volatility of our state’s health care system, which has been imperiled for years and was further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the critical impact that has on affordability and accessibility of care for patients.

While health care spending once again exceeded the overall benchmark, clear trends persist regardless of the pandemic’s impact, with increased pharmacy spending continuing to be the largest driver of cost growth. The high and rising cost of health insurance premiums and increased consumer cost sharing – due to increased enrollment in high deductible health plans – is driving a crisis of affordability that affects 4 in 10 Massachusetts residents overall and disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic patients, underscoring crucial work to be done to advance health equity. Physician spending declined overall, likely reflecting the serious challenges practices face in terms of workforce shortages, increased administrative burden, and serious financial strain, which result in decreased access to care, especially in primary care.

CHIA’s annual report is an important data source that can offer insight into appropriate levers for policy change to rein in spending growth and improve affordability of care. The Medical Society’s physician members remain steadfast in our collective effort to contribute to cost containment measures that will ultimately benefit our patients.

In this moment, with the health system in crisis, punctuated by well-documented capacity, workforce, and financial challenges, we continue to push for key legislative reforms to fortify the physician workforce, reform and increase investment in primary care to spur lower costs, increase transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical industry and improve the affordability of prescription drugs for patients, as well as measures that will decrease the cost-sharing burden for critical preventive care, especially for those with chronic illness.

The Medical Society strives for improved, equitable access to high-quality, high-value care health care via all modalities, and we look forward to further engagement with the Health Policy Commission as they review and analyze this new data.

-Barbara S. Spivak, MD, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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