Charlie Baker is the president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health
Care. This post first appeared on his blog, Lets Talk Health Care.
The show is
pretty much the same – every time. Public sector entity gets in budget
trouble, cuts have to be made, and providers who do business with the
public sector get hammered – hard. It’s happened with Medicare at
the federal level for years, and it happens with Medicaid at the state
level with some frequency as well.
Well, the show is back in town, as state governments face declining
revenues. In Massachusetts, the state is not only cutting Medicaid
payments prospectively – it’s cutting Medicaid payments for some
providers retrospectively – simply choosing not to make payments to
them they had planned on and expected.
I must say, each time this happens, I can’t help but wonder if the
hospital operators and physician leaders who think a single-payer like
Medicare For All is a good idea ever stop to think about how these
agencies deal with their financial problems. When they have a problem,
they unilaterally whack their provider community hard – in ways private
sector payers would never consider.
And then those same providers who think Medicare For All is a great
idea turn to the private health plans they do business with and say,
“Hey – you need to help solve my Medicare/Medicaid deficit – which just
Sheesh. All I can say is, “be careful what you wish for.”