Young to Mass. Doctors: Stay Involved, Be Heard on Payment Reforms

Massachusetts Medical Society President Lynda Young urged doctors to make themselves heard in the debate over health care costs, especially as the stakes rise in Washington D.C. over looming Medicare cuts

She spoke before the House of Delegates opening session at the MMS 2011 Interim Meeting, which began Friday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m.

Dr. Young’s remarks focused on the “challenging times” in Massachusetts health care.  As pressures in Washington rise, closer to home increasing consolidation of hospitals and practices have left no part of the state untouched.

“Things are changing, and it’s happening very, very quickly,” said Dr. Young.

She recalled the historic day back in April 2006 at Faneuil Hall when the state’s health care reform bill was signed into law.  Five years later – it has exceeded the expectations of even its most enthusiastic supporters — less than 3 percent of the state’s population is uninsured.

But the job is by no means done, she said.

“This is what we have left for later – the relentless rise in the cost of health care – while the rest of the economy rose at a much slower rate, if at all,” said Dr. Young.

Massachusetts is making strides, however, she said. Health care premiums here are no longer the highest of fastest-growing in the country. Some 26 other states have seen their premiums rise faster than Massachusetts in recent years.

The Massachusetts medical community needs to keep up its advocacy work against efforts by government to impose rate setting, said Dr.Young.

Doctors must not walk away from this debate, although the politics and delays can be deeply frustrating.

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” she said, drawing laughs from the more than 200 attendees at the morning session.

“We must stay at the table in all these discussions.  Everyone wants us there and we are making a difference.’’

Read more details about the  MMS Interim Meeting Dec. 2-3

— Erica Noonan

Comments are closed.