Mass. Bill May Control Health Care Costs

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that aims to save $200 billion over the next 15 years by linking health care cost increases to the growth of the state’s economy. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

Under the new law, hospitals and doctors will have to cut their rate of cost growth about in half. For example, Kaiser Health News explains, instead of going up 6 to 8 percent, costs would be allowed to rise 3.6 percent per year. The bill is a follow-up to Massachusetts’ famous health reform signed into law by former governor Mitt Romney. That law, like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), focuses mainly on insurance coverage, while the new legislation addresses health care costs that drive up insurance premiums.

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No other state has tried to tie health care costs to the state’s economy,” said Massachusetts Association of Health Plans President Lora Pellegrini. “This is going to be really revolutionary and very important, and I’m sure the nation’s watching.”

The Massachusetts Hospital Association praised the bill. “We have great hopes and expectations that the bill will be successful and we are committed to working with the state to ensure that success,” the association said in a statement.

Michael Widmer, with the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, says he thinks the health care industry will embrace the bill’s spending goals, even though they are what he considers aggressive.


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