Health care spending is on the rise in Massachusetts

Physicians and patients agree lowering prescription drug prices will help reduce health care cost

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission’s annual report found that health care spending is increasing in the state. Prescription drug costs, hospital spending, health insurance enrollment changes and long term services are all driving the costs higher.

Dr. Ira Helfand of the Family Care Medical Center in Springfield told 22News it’s a broken system in need of repair. He said, “I think the main thing we need to do is to get the cost of medication under control. We need to be able to negotiate with the drug companies and their prices need to be lowered. We need to get the insurance companies out of the picture completely.”

Related: Health report on state’s ability to meet cost containment, care delivery goals

Prescription drug prices are blamed for the state’s rising health care costs, which an increasing number of low and middle income families are unable to afford.

A grandmother waiting in the reception area at the Family Care Medical Center told 22News pharmaceutical companies need regulating. Katie Rae of Port Saint Lucie, Florida, said, “They’re out of control and they’re not regulated. People who are very poor, disabled, the elderly especially, who can’t pay for their pharmaceutical.”

The report urges lawmakers and health insurers to work together and create a more transparent health care system. According to the report, medical care and prescription drugs account for more than 20% of commercial spending in Massachusetts.