“I thank this coalition of leaders and advocates, of disparate and sometimes-competing interests, for coming together and sticking together for the greater good,” Patrick said. “That’s not only what it’s taken and will take to lower health care costs, that’s what it takes to make a real community. And it’s one of which I am proud to be a part. Congratulations one and all.”So the governor signs a health care cost control bill, which is estimated to save $197 billion by 2022. And, like, everyone's happy about it. The hospitals seem to be happy. The insurers seem to be happy. The health care consumer advocates seem to be happy (congrats to longtime BMGer, now Health Care for All mover-and-shaker Ari Fertig!).
This is nuts. Gotta be too good to be true.
And maybe it is; the goals are pretty ambitious. But what we do have in this state, is a pretty tight-knit health care community of interests: It's people from a wide variety of interests, yet the social and business norm -- at least in the last 6-7 years -- is to look for common goals, try to be fair, to keep talking, and to keep the public good in mind. Everyone seems to have agreed that that which cannot continue forever, won't. And we couldn't afford to continue along the road we were on.
And Massachusetts cements its status as a place where things can actually get done, where the political culture doesn't flinch from taking on enormous issues. Much credit is due to the Governor, for setting the tone; to Terry Murray, who has always leaned forward on cost control; and -- dare I say it? -- Bob DeLeo, who after seemingly slow-rolling the bill, got it done. One-party rule gets a lot of criticism, often for good reason ... but it means things can happen without much of the spiteful and opportunistic jockeying, brinksmanship and trash-talking that happens, say, in DC. (Bipartisan government could work that way ... and it has in the past ... but that seems a universe away these days.)
Congrats also to WBUR's Martha Bebinger and the Commonhealth blog folks, who have always done sterling, truly informative work. Commonhealth's Rachel Zimmerman's summation of the bill is here.
If Massachusetts had a fight song, I'd be singing it.