In the News

A Health Care Imperative For Governor Baker

January 9, 2015

By David Martin
Vice President of Operations
Lown Institute

As Charlie Baker is sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, among the many public policy issues clamoring for his attention is health care. In the last eight years, three major health care reform proposals have rattled and banged their way through Massachusetts: first, Romneycare, which morphed into Obamacare, and then Governor Deval Patrick’s Health Care Cost Containment Bill. Despite these reforms, there remains a fundamental disconnect between the way health care should be and the way it is.

In Massachusetts, health care is both a major employer and a source of great regional pride. As a business, hospitals and health care systems are mostly focused on finding sick patients and serving them in the same way that other businesses find and serve customers. The problem is that health care is not about “health,” but illness.

If a healthy Massachusetts is our goal, we must reorient our health care system to prioritize keeping people healthy, rather than simply profiting – handsomely – when they are sick. A reorientation like this is simple to conceive of but difficult to implement. Money and power resist change that threatens money and power.

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