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Massachusetts Blue Cross CEO Adds Momentum to Health-Cost Control

Posted by Eileen McAnneny on Jan 24, 2011 3:59:00 PM

The push to control health costs in Massachusetts gained significant momentum over the weekend as the chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts urged hospitals to adopt a new global payment system and warned that providers who hold onto traditional fee-for-service arrangements face level or reduced payments.

Health cost controlBlue Cross President and CEO Andrew Dreyfus, in a letter to hospitals and physician practices reported Sunday in The Boston Globe, noted that “we all know that rising costs continue to threaten the health care that is so important to our community.

“Health care costs are making businesses in Massachusetts less competitive, and limiting their ability to grow. Health care costs are squeezing municipal budgets, taking money from schools and police and fire protection, and health care costs are consuming too much of family incomes, forcing many families to make difficult sacrifices,” Dreyfus wrote.

Dreyfus’ comments came as the Patrick administration prepares to file health cost legislation that is widely expected to institute a payment system under which medical care providers are put on an annual budget and given incentives to control costs and improve care instead of being paid for individual doctor visits and procedures.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which has been at the forefront of efforts to resolve the insurance crisis facing employers, applauds Dreyfus’ comments as a constructive step in helping employers suffering with rate increases of up to 40 percent. Employers remain ready to work with lawmakers, doctors, hospitals and insurers to ensure that spiraling health costs do not divert an already tentative economic recovery.

We encourage members to read the full article and to leave your comments below.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Employers, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Massachusetts Representatives Back Move to Repeal 1099 Provision

Posted by Brian Gilmore on Jan 18, 2011 2:42:00 PM

House Republicans have initiated efforts to repeal a controversial provision of federal health care reform that will require businesses to file 1099 tax forms for every vendor that sells them more than $600 worth of goods or services. The provision is due to take effect in 2013.

The Republican leadership has made the 1099 repeal a priority and has therefore assigned the initiative the number H.R. 4. The bill has more than 245 co-sponsors - nearly all House Republicans and several Democrats, including Massachusetts Representatives Barney Frank and Niki Tsongas.

The provision will subject more than 40 million entities, including governments, nonprofits, and businesses of all sizes across the nation to onerous data collection and IRS information filing burdens on virtually all non-credit card purchases. 

AIM believes the 1099 provision would saddle employers with significant administrative and accounting expenses at a time when many firms are still struggling with a soft economy. We appreciate Representatives Frank and Tsongas for supporting the measure, and will ask other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to join them. 

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Taxes, Health Care

Control of Health Costs Key to Economic Future of Massachusetts

Posted by Rick Lord on Jan 3, 2011 5:32:00 AM

Will Massachusetts find a way in the New Year to moderate the soaring cost of health insurance before it erodes the economic foundation of the commonwealth?

Common Wealth 2011That’s the question on the minds of thousands of Massachusetts employers as Governor Deval Patrick begins a second term and the Massachusetts Legislature prepares to convene its 2011-2012 session. Amid the many challenges that employers face – a sluggish economy, taxes, burdensome regulation – health care costs represent the seminal business issue of 2011 for companies struggling to provide decent insurance coverage to their workers.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts this morning published its third annual Common Wealth statement outlining the principles and beliefs that will drive our advocacy on behalf of Massachusetts employers during the next 12 months. Given that 97 percent of AIM members who responded to a survey last fall identified health care as their primary concern, it’s no surprise that Common Wealth 2011 – Critical Condition emphasizes the association’s ideas for resolving an issue that threatens to choke economic opportunity for employers and citizens alike.

Four years after the passage of the landmark Massachusetts Health Reform Act and several months after Governor Deval Patrick signed a health care cost control law, virtually everyone agrees that the Massachusetts health care market is unsustainable without fundamental changes to the way companies and consumers purchase medical insurance. No one knows that better than the Massachusetts employers trying to provide health insurance in the face of 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent annual premium increases. The health care system will collapse of its own weight if the companies that foot the bill for insurance are no longer able to pay.

Massachusetts has a unique opportunity and responsibility to solve the health cost puzzle. The commonwealth became a model for the nation in 2006 when it undertook a bipartisan health reform that has since extended coverage to 400,000 people who did not have coverage previously. With the rest of country only now taking its first, halting steps toward expansion of coverage, it’s time for Massachusetts to establish a model for making world-class health care measurable and affordable for employers and consumers alike.

The process is complex and will require involvement from everyone. Employers must become more knowledgeable insurance buyers. Consumers must develop the same acumen for comparing medical services that they use to purchase automobiles. Doctors and hospitals must look in the mirror and address the staggering price differentials among practitioners and institutions within Massachusetts. And health plans must minimize the share of premium dollars they spend on administration.

We hope you take the time to read Common Wealth 2011 – Critical Condition and we welcome your comments.

Let the debate begin.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Health Insurance, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Administration Affirms Intent to Reduce Health-Insurance Costs

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 17, 2010 11:46:00 AM

The commissioner of Health Care Finance and Policy on Monday affirmed the Patrick Administration’s commitment to reducing, and not just moderating, the cost of health insurance for Massachusetts employers.

Morales.DavidThese welcome comments by Commissioner David Morales came less than a week after he was quoted by Statehouse News Service as saying that it may not be politically or economically realistic to reduce health premiums when health care represents a key sector of the Massachusetts economy. AIM believes that price reductions are possible with political will and effort.

Morales wrote on his blog Monday that the administration “is committed to providing businesses with the relief they need from skyrocketing premium increases and giving them the economic breathing room they need to create jobs.

“Some have expressed concerns that moving too far too fast will negatively impact Massachusetts businesses.  But, it is our assessment that cutting health care costs will give Massachusetts businesses the resources they need to grow and create jobs,” the commissioner wrote.

Morales noted that the cost of health care in Massachusetts has been rising at an “unsustainable” annual rate of 7.5 percent, far faster than the 4.0 percent increase in per-capita gross domestic product. He believes the key elements of controlling health costs are eliminating inefficiency and changing the way employers and consumers pay for health care.

“We need to be mindful of the impact of cost containment strategies, not to delay their implementation but rather to ensure that we achieve the desired outcomes.  These strategies must ultimately provide relief to businesses and consumers struggling with rising costs and promote high-quality, patient-centered care.  Change may not be easy, but it’s necessary,” he wrote.

AIM President and Chief Executive Officer Richard C. Lord applauded Morales’ comments and said that containing health care costs will be at the center of the association’s policy agenda for 2011. More than 97 percent of AIM members who took part in a recent issues survey identified health insurance premiums as a matter of “great” or “moderate” concern.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Exchange Underscores AIM's Determination to Reduce Health Costs

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Nov 9, 2010 8:17:00 AM

An exchange yesterday between an executive of Associated Industries of Massachusetts and a senior Patrick administration official underscores two key elements of the effort to control rising health insurance costs:

  • AIM is committed to changes that will eventually reduce the cost of health insurance for employers.
  • There is significant political resistance to reducing the cost structure of a health care industry that is an important generator of jobs and innovation in Massachusetts.

The exchange between AIM Senior Vice President Eileen McAnneny and Commissioner of Health Care Finance and Policy David Morales took place at one of AIM’s seminars on the interaction of federal and state health care reform. As reported by State House News Service, Mr. Morales indicated that it’s “not realistic” to reduce the cost of health care. Ms. McAnneny responded that reductions are possible with “some political will and some effort.”

It’s interesting reading that crystallizes AIM’s determination to resolve an issue that threatens to undermine the long-term economic stability of the commonwealth.

Please let us know what you think. And join the conversation at one of the remaining AIM seminars on health reform.

Read the Article

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Health Insurance, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Limited Networks Give Employers a Tool to Control Health Costs

Posted by Eileen McAnneny on Oct 26, 2010 2:13:00 PM

Employers seeking to control health-insurance premiums (and that’s just about all of them) have a new tool at their disposal as they negotiate plan renewals for 2011.

Limited networksThe health cost control law signed by Governor Deval Patrick in August requires Massachusetts health plans to offer at least one limited or tiered network product that is at least 12 percent less expensive than a comparable full-network offering.  That means employers and their workers can reduce costs and preserve benefits by doing business with community hospitals and other facilities that deliver verifiably cost-effective health care.

The requirement takes effect on January 1.

Health plans are still awaiting final regulations on limited network products from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. But several carriers already have such plans on the market and others have them well along on the drawing board, so it’s a good time to begin the conversation with your health-plan representative.

“Limited networks give employers the opportunity to control health care expenses that have in some cases been rising as much as 20 percent to 40 percent per year,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.

“These networks also allow both employers and their workers to find excellent medical care, not just expensive medical care.”

The limited network provision was part of a cost-control bill intended to provide relief to rate-shocked employers while policymakers, health care providers and business representatives hammer out long-term solutions to the problem. The law also limits the ability of subscribers to jump on and off health plans repeatedly; prohibits anti-competitive contracts between providers and insurers; and establishes a pilot program on bundled payments, creating building blocks on the way to payment reform. 

The idea behind limited networks is simple – find quality medical care at reasonable prices. That means avoiding high-cost providers for procedures that can be performed just as well in lower-cost, community settings.

Limited networks are particularly promising for Massachusetts because of the gaping rate disparity among doctors and hospitals within commonwealth.  The attorney general's office issued a report this year concluding that the primary driver of health costs is the variation in rates that certain hospitals and physician groups are able to charge relative to their peers.  The report states:

"Price variations are not correlated to (1) quality of care, (2) the sickness or complexity of the populations being served, (3) the extent to which a provider is responsible for a large portion of patients on Medicare or Medicaid, or (4) whether a provider is an academic teaching or medical facility. Moreover, (5) price variations are not adequately explained by differences in hospital costs of delivering similar services at similar facilities . . . Price variations are correlated to market leverage as measured by the relative market position of the hospital or provider group compared with other hospitals or provider groups within a geographic region or within a group of academic medical centers." 

Pat Hughes, President and CEO of Fallon Community Health Plan in Worcester, wrote recently in the Boston Business Journal that the key for employers is to find the right limited network. Hughes said employers should look for a few important ingredients:

  • A full spectrum of providers, including acute care hospitals, primary care physicians, specialists and other services;
  • Multispecialty group practices that use electronic medical records;
  • Community hospitals that have demonstrated through objective clinical data the capacity to deliver high-quality care and good outcomes at reasonable costs;
  • A mechanism that allows patients to visit a doctor or hospital outside the network for a second opinion or a procedure that is not available within the network.

Employers must become part of the solution to rising health care costs by taking proactive steps like purchasing a limited/tiered network product.  As the purchasers of health insurance, they hold huge potential to change the marketplace and need to start flexing a little muscle.

Topics: AIM, Employers, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Health Cost Issue Reaches Tipping Point for Massachusetts Employers

Posted by John Regan on Oct 13, 2010 9:34:00 AM

The cost of providing health insurance to workers has reached the tipping point for employers, according to a new survey by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM).

Massachusetts Health Care CostsNinety-seven percent of 523 employers who took part in the 2010 AIM Employer Issues Survey identified the cost of health insurance as a matter of “great” or “moderate” concern. Health costs were also the most common response when employers were asked generally to name the problems that keep them awake at night.

Health issues easily outdistanced state taxes (83 percent great or moderate concern), energy costs and unemployment insurance costs (both 77 percent) on the list of concerns among employers already struggling in the face of a persistent economic slowdown.

“Health insurance has been a concern for employers for years, but the issue appears to have reached the crisis stage long predicted by economists and other experts,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive officer of AIM.

“The numbers are staggering and the responses are passionate. At a time when the federal government has embarked upon health reform, it’s clear that we’re heading for an economic catastrophe if leaders in government, health care and business do not address the cost issue now.”

Employer comments about rising health insurance premiums underscore the fact the issue has emotional as well as financial consequences.

“Premium increases absolutely affect our company, but my biggest concern is for our employees,” wrote one employer.

“Year after year we offer them plan choices with reduced coverages/high deductibles/high co-pays with an expectation of reduced premiums, yet the opposite happens. The cost of health insurance is out of control. As an HR person I'm upset by this and I think I have a better understanding of the entire process. I can't even imagine how our employees feel.”

AIM conducts the Issues Survey every two years to identify the employer priorities that will make up its public policy agenda.

The debate over health costs ignited into a firestorm this year as small employers confronted insurance premium increases of up to 40 percent. Four years after Massachusetts employers supported the commonwealth’s landmark health insurance reform, those same employers told policymakers that the Massachusetts health care market is unsustainable without fundamental changes to the way companies and consumers purchase medical services.

AIM took the lead in seeking health care cost control for employers in March by proposing an amendment on Beacon Hill that would have temporarily limited reimbursements to some doctors and hospitals and required health plans to offer low-cost plans with reduced networks of providers. The Patrick administration, meanwhile, rejected scores of proposed rate increases submitted by health insurers before eventually reaching settlements with those companies.

The Legislature eventually passed, and Governor Deval Patrick signed, a cost-control bill that represented a first step toward creating relief for businesses while policymakers, medical providers, insurers and employers develop long-term solutions to a problem that continues to threaten the state economy.

“That will be at the top of my agenda next session, and I expect a strong commitment from everyone. Long-term reform is an absolute necessity for the future stability of health care and our economy,” Senate President Therese Murray said.

Employers who responded to the AIM survey recognize the complexity of addressing the economic underpinnings of the health-care system.

“It has to be health care, both the current costs and the fact that the administration seems overly concerned with the coverage issue and not enough attention is being devoted to developing solutions to the underlying problem that it costs too much to deliver average health care,” an employer wrote.

“I believe the federal government addressed some real issues with the health care reform, especially around the coverage issues, but the question remains as to whether or not they have a true understanding of how much it will cost and how it will be funded.”

Beyond state and local taxes, energy costs and unemployment insurance, the survey indicates that employers remain concerned about workers compensation insurance costs, the quality of public education and the availability of qualified workers.

Employers who did not point to health costs as the issue that keeps them awake nights instead got insomnia from economic problems - such as lack of access to credit and the construction slump -  and broader concerns such as government encroachment on the ability of entrepreneurs to create new businesses and jobs.

Federal issues are also on employer radar screens. Survey participants expressed concern about proposed cap-and-trade climate change legislation, off-balance accounting for Social Security liabilities and expansion of the federal bureaucracy in conjunction with health care and financial services reform.

EmployerConcerns

 

Topics: AIM, Health Insurance, Health Care, Health Care Costs

Bureaucracy, Costs Threaten Promise of Federal Health Care Reform

Posted by Rick Lord on Sep 16, 2010 12:38:00 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered one of the memorable quotes about health care reform in March when she told an audience: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

Health care reformEmployers are indeed beginning to learn what’s in the massive federal health care overhaul and they don’t like what they see. Two issues boiled over this week that seem to confirm some of the worst fears among employers that health reform will become a sprawling and expensive bureaucratic exercise that will exacerbate rather than solve the health cost crisis.

These issues raise particular concerns for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which has supported the concept of health reform in the Bay State and nationally as a necessary step toward controlling health care costs for employers.

The first issue played out in Washington, where the Senate voted to maintain a controversial provision of the health reform law that will require businesses to file 1099 tax forms for every vendor that sells them more than $600 worth of goods and services. The provision, due to take effect in 2013, will require more than 30 million U.S. companies that currently only have to tell the IRS the value of services they purchase from vendors to also report the value of goods and merchandise they purchase.

Lawmakers added the 1099 reporting footnote to the health reform bill to raise an estimated $17.1 billion.

The Senate rejected by a 46-52 margin an amendment by Republican Michael Johanns of Nebraska to scrap the new 1099 rules. Senators then rejected 56-42 a White House-backed alternative that would increase the 1099 threshold to $5,000 and exempt businesses with fewer than 25 workers.  Senator Scott Brown voted in favor of the Johanns amendment and against the Democratic alternative, while Senator John Kerry voted against the Johanns amendment and in favor of the alternative.

AIM believes the 1099 provision would saddle employers with significant administrative and accounting expense at a time when many are already struggling with the soft economy. Implementation of federal health care reform will be a long and difficult road without the support of our nation’s small businesses.  Imposition of the 1099 requirement on small businesses in 2013 could derail support for the majority of the reform bill effective in 2014.

We appreciate Senator Brown’s vote in favor of eliminating the 1099 requirement. Congress should rethink this ill-advised provision as it undermines both the promise of savings for small businesses from health care reform and runs counter to efforts by the Obama administration and Congressional leaders to help small businesses.

The second federal health reform issue to raise red flags is a provision that may require self-insured employers to create their own external review process for employees seeking to appeal a denial of medical claims. AIM and other employer groups this week asked the Patrick Administration to allow self-insured employers to use an existing Massachusetts process set up to hear appeals from employees of fully insured companies, something the federal government through its written guidance  has encouraged. State officials have not yet responded to the request.

Many states, including Massachusetts,  provide the right for individuals who receive coverage from an employer through fully-insured health plans (typically small- and medium-sized employers) to request a review of certain benefit denials from their health plan and to submit the case to an external reviewer if the benefit request is still denied after the health plan reviews its original decision.  Self-insured employers are not subject to the state's external review law.

The health reform law will now require self-insured employers to follow federal external review standards as soon as next month.  For non-grandfathered, self-insured employers, the new federal requirements take effect for plans that renew on or after September 23.  So a non-grandfathered employer that renews October 1 would have less than three weeks to meet federal external review standards.

My AIM colleague Sandy Reynolds will cover details of both issues in a new online health reform update series called Health Reform Fridays. The Webinars will provide updates on the politics and regulations surround reform, but also practical advice on the best way to comply.

The employers who pay most of the bills for health care in the United States remain committed to creating a system that provides medical coverage to the broadest possible population of Americans without bankrupting the economy upon which they depend for their livelihoods. AIM and its thousands of member employers urge federal and state policymakers to move beyond expensive and bureaucratic regulatory issues that do nothing to improve the health care system or the business climate.

After all, how much will all these administrative requirements cost? We know what’s in the bill, Speaker Pelosi, but it doesn’t tell us.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Health Care

Group Health Policies from MA Carriers Must Cover Dependents to Age 26

Posted by Sandy Reynolds on Sep 1, 2010 2:32:00 PM

AIM has confirmed with the state Division of Insurance that group health plans purchased from Massachusetts carriers must cover employees’ dependent children up to age 26 - even if the health plan is “grandfathered” under federal health care reform.

health care reformThe federal reform law contains a dependent eligibility provision that is similar, but not identical, to one that became effective on January 1, 2007 under the Massachusetts reform.  The federal rule covers all group plans, both self-funded and fully insured, and is effective with plan years that begin on or after September 23, 2010. It requires coverage up to the 26th birthday. There is a special consideration for “grandfathered” status, allowing such plans to deny coverage, through 2013 only, to adult children who have access to coverage through their own employers.

AIM staff identified a provision in Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI) Bulletin 2008-01 stating that, “Carriers may not impose any limitations on eligibility for dependent coverage, other than limitations defining familial relationships under the policy . . . and any other limitations that may be permitted under the (Massachusetts reform law).” That language would make the state rule potentially more favorable to the dependent and take precedence over the federal provision for grandfathered plans.

Representatives from the DOI have responded to AIM’s inquiry and confirmed that consideration of the availability of other coverage is not permitted under Massachusetts insurance law.

The bottom line for Massachusetts-insured employers for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010:

  1. Dependents must be offered coverage up to their 26th birthday - period. There is no longer any consideration of parental support and, as of April 1, 2010, no imputed income application.
  2. This applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans.

Please note that this information applies only to group health insurance plans purchased from Massachusetts carriers. It does not apply to “grandfathered” plans that are either self-funded or that are purchased in other states.

Stay informed about the evolving world of health care reform by signing up for AIM’s biweekly Health Reform Fridays webinar series starting September 17, 2010. Contact Melissa Daly at mdaly@aimnet.org for more information on these programs.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Health Care Reform, AIM, Health Care

Health Cost Issue in Massachusetts Requires Intensive Care

Posted by Rick Lord on Aug 19, 2010 8:45:00 AM

What happens when the crown jewel of your economy simultaneously threatens the health of your economy?

health care costsThat’s the conundrum facing politicians, employers, doctors, insurers and hospitals as Massachusetts begins the work of reforming the financial underpinnings of the health care system.

Four years after the passage of the landmark Health Reform Act and two weeks after Governor Deval Patrick signed a health cost control law, virtually everyone agrees that the Massachusetts health care market is unsustainable without fundamental changes to the way companies and consumers purchase medical services.

No one knows that better than the Massachusetts employers struggling to provide decent health insurance coverage to their workers in the face of 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent annual premium increases. You don’t have to be a Nobel laureate to know that the health care market will collapse of its own weight if the companies that foot the bill for insurance are no longer able to pay.

“…We must continue our work on long-term payment reform and cost-control measures,” Senate President Therese Murray said last week. “Long-term reform is an absolute necessity for the future stability of health care and our economy.”

But reforming health care is complex in Massachusetts. Health care delivery is the largest sector of the Massachusetts economy with more than 600,000 jobs and $35 billion in annual output. That doesn't include related industries such as biotechnology, medical devices and research. Add in a unique population of gold-plated medical brand names located in Massachusetts and any initiative to control costs risks derailing one of our primary engines of economic growth.

The problem is that the more the health care sector grows, the more life it drains out of the rest of the Massachusetts economy, where 2.5 million people go to work each day and create $300 billion each year worth of jet engines, computer software and fine art. Health care costs in Massachusetts are the highest in the country. Those costs stunt job growth, drive up the amount of money employees must take out of their pockets for health insurance and create ancillary problems such as the status of employees versus independent contractors.

What’s the solution?

A series of state hearings in March indicated that there is consensus around the need for medical payment reform that replaces the current fee-for-service system with an integrated approach that rewards efficiency and value.

The bill signed by Governor Patrick allows the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy to establish a pilot program on bundled payments, creating building blocks on the way to payment reform.  For example, providers and payers could be required to develop and implement new payment methodologies for at least two acute conditions/procedures by January 2011 and at least two chronic conditions by July 2011.

But make no mistake: Disagreements remain around how to control costs through payment reform, the time frame for doing so, who will be responsible for implementation and whether savings will make their way back to employers.

A second key element of reform will be resolving the staggering rate disparity among doctors and hospitals within Massachusetts.  The attorney general's office recently found that a major driver of health costs is the variation in rates that certain hospitals and physician groups are able to charge relative to their peers.  The report states:

"Price variations are not correlated to (1) quality of care, (2) the sickness or complexity of the populations being served, (3) the extent to which a provider is responsible for a large portion of patients on Medicare or Medicaid, or (4) whether a provider is an academic teaching or medical facility. Moreover, (5) price variations are not adequately explained by differences in hospital costs of delivering similar services at similar facilities . . . Price variations are correlated to market leverage as measured by the relative market position of the hospital or provider group compared with other hospitals or provider groups within a geographic region or within a group of academic medical centers." 
Health insurers are turning up the pressure on medical providers to address the cost disparity.

Allen Maltz, Chief Financial Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said recently, "With the distraction of premium rate caps behind us, we're committed to working with doctors and hospitals to reduce the rising cost of medical care, the main driver of premium increases.

"We are asking highly paid hospitals and physicians' practices and those who earn a healthy margin on caring for BCBSMA members to reduce their prices in order to provide real and lasting premium relief to employers and consumers," he said.

The final element of health cost reform must be results. Reform must ultimately solve the cost problem. 

We will know the reform works when the same employers who supported a 2006 reform that expanded coverage but did not control costs no longer suffer a sick feeling in the stomach every time they sit down to review premium increases with their health plans. We will know the reform works when employees no longer wonder whether they can afford rising co-pays and deductibles. And we will know the reform works when cost of health insurance ceases to be a structural impediment to job growth and economic recovery in Massachusetts.

The good news is that we know what has to be done. The issue is whether we have the wherewithal to do it. AIM and Massachusetts employers are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Health Insurance, Deval Patrick, Health Care, Health Care Costs

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