Maryland Surfaces as a Healthcare Reform Leader

Countdown to Health Care Reform

Countdown to Health Care Reform (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

Key components of the healthcare law will surface in 2014, when the law will ensure that all individuals, families and small businesses can obtain coverage through state marketplaces. What healthcare might become in the next couple years, however, is already beginning to form and rise to the top.

Maryland’s health reform plans are quickly surfacing. State lawmakers submitted a plan last week for how they would apply federal healthcare reforms in Maryland in the new year, a plan that the Obama administration might be looking at to help shape health reform for the rest of the country.

At the center of that plan and the reason other states are looking to Maryland as a health reform prototype: the creation of incentives for Maryland hospitals to reduce the cost of care and a unique rate-setting system that would keep hospital spending from growing faster than the overall economy.

This Washington Post article asserts that the plan is “…bluntly challenging the state’s powerful hospital industry,” while keeping hospital spending rates down, slashing the recent increase in rates in half.

Maryland’s rate-setting Health Services Cost Review Commission, made up of seven members (two are hospital executives), would hold the power to set many of the details of the hospital rates. In other states, rates are negotiated between insurers or dictated by Medicare.

While the plan focuses on hospital spending for now, it also states that after four years, a second phase will focus on cutting a broader range of healthcare costs. Read more about the Maryland health reform plan in this Baltimore Sun article.

What other healthcare costs would you like to see controlled in Maryland and beyond? Do you think a Health Services Cost Review Commission is the answer to reducing hospital spending?

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Jasmine’s father, sister, and brother are doctors, but she’s always seen health as more than just healthcare. Through WellPower, Jasmine hopes to bring broader awareness to food access issues and all of the factors in our daily lives that affect health. Read more.