National Democrats Eye Mass. Health Care Cost Containment Law

September 2, 2012 12:00 AM
National Democrats Eye Mass. Health Care Cost Containment Law
" WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of President Barack Obama’s former advisers are proposing major changes aimed at controlling health care costs as political uncertainty hovers over his health law.

Call it Health Care Overhaul, Version 2.0. Their biggest idea is a first-ever budget for the nation’s $2.8-trillion health care system, through negotiated limits on public and private spending in each state.

The approach broadly resembles a Massachusetts law signed this summer by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick that puts pressure on hospitals, insurers, and other major players to keep rising costs within manageable limits. It could become the Democratic counterpoint to private market strategies favored by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.

Health costs lie at the heart of budget problems confronting the next president. Health care accounts for 18 percent of the economy and about one-fourth of the federal budget, and many experts believe it can’t grow unchecked without harming other priorities. Because the United States spends much more than other advanced countries, there’s a consensus that savings from cutting waste and duplication won’t harm quality "

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