Pawlenty’s Health Care Accomplishments – Real or Imagined?

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For presumed GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, health care is a signature cause. The former Minnesota governor hopes to use the topic against opponent Mitt Romney, who supported health reform in Massachusetts similar to the national plan. Pawlenty has also garnered attention by spearheading the effort to resist the Affordable Care Act on the state level; as governor, he turned down federal funds made available by the law. The cherry on top of Pawlenty’s health care sundae has been his promotion of Minnesota-based reforms he says are smarter and more effecient than the federal plan.

But according to Minnesota Public Radio, Pawlenty’s been stretching his health care record at home.

“Don’t just say we’re going to pay you for endless volumes of procedures,” Pawlenty said. “We’ve got to start paying them for better health, and better health care outcomes. And that’s what we’ve done in Minnesota…”

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Pawlenty was referring to an experiment in Minnesota that bundles medical services into so-called “baskets of care.”

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Sonier said no providers have been willing to try out the original baskets of care that were created by the state.

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Pay-for-performance incentives are another way Minnesota is trying to save money on health care….

“We’re interested in ‘did this person get optimal care? Did they get better quicker?’” Pawlenty said. “And if they did, and you get more and more of your patient load meeting those kinds of criteria, we’ll pay you more as a provider.”

…Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, said a lot more doctors will need to get behind the program before the state will notice any savings.

“I don’t think it saved any. I think it’s cost us,” Berglin said. “These payments were on top of what they were getting before.”

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