Minnesota’s well-known Mayo Clinic got a check-up Sunday in a high-profile Washington Post story.The article raises fair questions about whether the Mayo group-practice model could be replicated on a broad basis. It also explores criticism lobbed by some single-payer advocates this summer: that the Rochester-based medical center’s enviable outcomes are due largely to its healthy, wealthy and racially homogenous Midwestern patients.

Expect to hear more of this line-of-argument this fall as the Senate gets serious about passing a reform bill. In this case, single-payer advocates and politicians from high-health-care cost states down south will make for some strange political bedfellows. They have different goals — the single payer camp wants radical reform while representatives from high-cost areas want to protect their providers’ revenue — but they also are in agreement that payment reform is not a desired solution. Mayo has been at the forefront in calling for payment reform to better reward providers for quality outcomes rather than volume of services. Last week, 28 senators led by Minnesota’s Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to President Obama calling for renewed emphasis on this cost-control measure.

Mayo has been playing offense in this summer’s health care debate. As momentum builds for payment reform (the Baucus bill takes some steps toward it), the Minnesota clinic will likely find itself playing defense in the weeks ahead as those opposed to payment reform seek to discredit one of the chief advocates for it.

To read the Washington Post article, click HERE.