In Washington, there’s an effort led by Republican Representative Kevin Brady of Texas to amend the Affordable Care Act by reducing Medicare funding for select states, including Massachusetts. There is a similar bill in the Senate. Massachusetts hospitals stand to lose more than $200 million as they struggle to make investments necessary for coordinated and accountable care.
The issue involves the obscure and complex area wage index — a factor in Medicare’s payment formula that recognizes that labor costs differ across the country. Proponents of Brady’s scheme are taking advantage of that complexity to promote misguided policy changes that would harm Massachusetts and several other states while masquerading as reform of a broken system.