Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

September 19, 2012

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


From Health Affairs


For Payment Reform, Lessons from the Massachusetts Experience


Bethesda, MD -- As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues, the Massachusetts example remains instructive. A new analysis, published today in Health Affairs as a Web First, looks at the health care cost control bill passed by the state legislature at the end of its current session and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick last month. This is the state’s third law to address health spending since Massachusetts’s health insurance coverage was signed into law in 2006 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. The authors say that although the 2012 bill lacks mechanisms to enforce new spending goals, they contend that it does create a framework for increased regulation should spending trends fail to moderate.


The New Era Of Payment Reform, Spending Targets, And Cost Containment In Massachusetts: Early Lessons For The Nation


By Robert E. Mechanic, Stuart H. Altman, and John E. McDonough


Mechanic and Altman are affiliated with the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts; McDonough is a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

The study will also appear in the journal’s October issue.


The authors noted many valuable lessons learned by Massachusetts, which could be applied elsewhere. “[A]fter three consecutive new laws and a strong private-sector response, there is no doubt that Massachusetts has begun to make important and difficult choices,” concluded the authors. “Massachusetts’s continuing experiences with these new policies will provide lessons about what is possible and what is not as the nation takes steps to contain health care costs.”

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.

The full text of each Health Affairs Web First paper is available free of charge to all Web-site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Web First papers are supported in part by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.