Coakley's detailed report warns that, perversely, this system is helping the expensive "have" providers to drive lower-priced "have nots" out of business — sending prices even higher.
Not coincidentally, those same hospitals and physicians' groups that hold such power in the marketplace also wield enormous influence on Beacon Hill. So it won't be easy for Patrick to move forward with regulations and laws to "bend the cost curve," as President Barack Obama likes to say.
Undoubtedly, Patrick hopes to make political hay of all this. His main challenger, Charlie Baker, was until recently in charge of Harvard Pilgrim — one of the insurance providers complicit in this scandalous system.
Baker, as the consummate health-care-provider insider, does indeed owe voters an explanation for his actions at Harvard Pilgrim, and a prescription for changing this untenable health-care market. But political posturing by both candidates should not distract from the task at hand: containing the unsustainable rise in health-care costs — now for the commonwealth, and perhaps later for the country.
: The Editorial Page
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