On Monday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that could save $200 billion in health care costs over the next 15 years. This seems to me to be an important development, worthy of national coverage, because the Massachusetts law was signed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and because it was the model for President Obama's health care reform legislation.
Yet the coverage seems spotty even in Massachusetts. From The Boston Globe and many others, we mostly get short pieces that report the potential savings and otherwise quote partisans about whether the bill is a good idea or not. It's not easy to find any information on the bill itself, or how the cost control measures would work. WBUR's story, by Martha Bebinger, was one of the more comprehensive pieces I saw, but it still left me wanting more detail about how costs would be controlled. [An aside: The WBUR audio is accompanied by what looks like a transcript but is actually a paraphrase. It should be so labeled to avoid confusing readers.]
At WBUR's Commonhealth blog, where one would expect to find solid coverage, I found more reaction to the signing, and a possible explanation, from Carey Goldberg, for why we didn't see more coverage this week: "The signing was so expected that it isn't really news," she wrote. But she also noted, in a separate post, that "at 350 pages, the state's new health cost control law contains multitudes," and she detailed how it would affect nurses. A link there sent me to more of what I was looking for: an Aug. 3 post by Rachel Zimmerman (she and Goldberg are co-conspirators at Commonhealth) detailing some of the law's provisions.
Thanks to Commonhealth for the solid coverage. But where were the others? The bill could be a model for further Congressional legislation on health reform. It deserved better coverage than it received.