Health Care Conference Report Filed

Last night, the conference committee on the health care cost control bill filed its report. Both branches are certain to approve the conference report unchanged later today.

Click here for the Senate President’s official summary of the bill’s provisions and here for the full text of the bill.

Click for more history on the development of this legislation.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • A statewide growth goal for health care costs — limited to the same growth rate as the state’s gross product (with mechanisms to .
  • Incentives to support the ongoing industry transition to new payment mechanisms that reward quality and efficiency as opposed to volume.
  • Transparency improvements in the health care market place to make it easier for enforcers to monitor abuse of market power and easier for consumers to make informed choices based on cost and quality.
  • Increased investment in prevention — $60 million over the next four years and tax credits for work place wellness programs.
  • Broader use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners to expand access to primary care.
  • Simplification of billing procedures to lower administrative costs.
  • Medical malpractice reform (cooling off period and protection of apologies).
  • Strengthening protections against insurance rate shocks for small businesses
  • Protecting patients from unreasonable denials of care

It’s a big step forward and the lead legislative accomplishment for this session. Health Care for all commented:

This historic legislation affirms Massachusetts’ leadership in consumer focused health care innovation, and we expect the nation will again look to the Massachusetts experience as a model for quality, affordable care for all.

We’ll see how it works over the next few years!

Many feel that next year’s work in the health care area will come back to the issue of high costs for lower middle income people and small businesses. The bill we are passing now may, we hope, reshape the industry and control the overall rate of cost increase, but it won’t actually reduce costs. Necessary responses to the federal health care law may be an occasion to give further attention to access affordability issues.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

6 replies on “Health Care Conference Report Filed”

  1. This really does seem like a big step forward! I’ll be eagerly following the effects of this legislation.

  2. I feel that any health care reform legislation that does not reduce the cost of health care and health insurance is almost meaningless.

    1. Glass half full — hopefully, health care in the future will cost a lot less, as a result of this bill, than it otherwise would. But, all would agree, that is not as good as costing less than it does now!

  3. This is potentially a significant improvement. But, as Will says, the real value will be revealed over the next couple years as the actual regulations get promulgated and the health industry’s efforts to maintain profitability play out.

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