Raimondo Calls For Cap On Health Care Spending

Jul 20, 2015

Governor Gina Raimondo has asked a working group to come up with a way to slow health care spending in Rhode Island. It's a strategy that has showed promise in Massachusetts.

Raimondo signed the executive order at the Kent County YMCA, surrounded by day campers.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Raimondo signed an executive order to establish the Working Group for Health Care Innovation. The group’s charge is to propose a way to limit the growth in public and private health care spending. One model might be close to home. Raimondo says Massachusetts placed a cap on spending.

“What they’ve done in Massachusetts for example, in their case, they’ve said health care expenditures should not grow at a rate faster than the economy," said Raimondo. "Now we may not choose that precise path, but that’s why I’ve brought together all these stakeholders, to figure out what is the right cap.”

Those stakeholders include health care providers, health insurers, academics, and community leaders. The group must submit its recommendations by December.

Raimondo says the overall goal is spend health care dollars more wisely. One hope is that a spending cap could bring down insurance costs for individuals and small businesses.

“It’s not sustainable to have health care premiums going up by double digits every single year, year after year. It’s hard for employers, it’s hard for employees," Raimondo said. "So the whole point of this is to say, ‘Hold on, we can’t sustain that. Let’s bring it down.’”

Raimondo announced the effort to cap health care spending flanked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts, both of whom have extensive involvement in efforts to reform health care.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The group's other tasks include:

- developing a benchmark (such as an annual percentage) and a plan for capping health care spending in Rhode Island

- plotting ways to tie 80 percent of all health care spending to some kind of quality measure by 2018

- laying out an information technology vision for all health insurers and payers, one that would help reduce waste and improve care

- and setting health and wellness goals for all Rhode Islanders, based on the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Healthy People 2020" goals

This working group is also meant to coordinate all other health care reform efforts throughout the state. That would include the effort to "reinvent" Medicaid, set in motion earlier this year, as well as the state's participation in Affordable Care Act-related reforms and grants.