Monday, June 23, 2014

An un-bylined story in the Boston Globe notes:

"Representatives from state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and Partners HealthCare System continue to haggle over terms of a final settlement that would allow Partners to acquire South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and at least two other community hospitals while limiting its further expansion and capping its prices for up to a decade."

You can almost imagine the conversation:

Guys, you gotta give me something to work with.  I had this all planned so well.  Look at this announcement, timed carefully to precede the state Democratic convention.  We promised that we would "fundamentally alter the negotiating power of Partners HealthCare for 10 years and control health costs across its entire network." 

We coordinated that with your announcement.  You made the deal sound hard on you by talking about the "challenges we will face with these conditions."

Together, we got the Globe to write an editorial endorsing the deal, saying it will impose "significant restrictions on short-term rates and bargaining power."

The only problem is that people saw through it, saying:

[It] will go a long way toward killing a reasonable possibility for the emergence of any coalition that will have a chance to create effective, cost-lowering competition. What a deal! To steal a concept from Joel Chandler Harris and the tale of “Br’er Rabbit,”Partners has been thrown into a pretty comfortable “briar patch” with this deal.

Then, others jumped and demanded to see the deal before it was filed.  I had to promise they will.  I had to "commit to being transparent and allowing for feedback."

So now, we have to come up with something new.  If I just file what we had before or with minor changes, it will get eviscerated.

But if I file something with major changes, some people will say that I didn't do the job the first time and am only responding to public pressure.

That's ok, because I know I can count on you to talk about how much more difficult it will be for you and how tough I was, right?


Guys, you gotta give me something.


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