Health Care Cost Control Bills Heads to Conference Committee

Senator Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) and Representative Steven Walsh (D-Lynn) were appointed to lead the Senate and House negotiating teams on omnibus legislation aimed at controlling health care costs and improving the quality of patient care by deploying new payment methods and other transparency and innovation measures.

Moore and Walsh will be joined on the six-member conference committee by Senator Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston), co-chair of the Financial Services Committee, House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy), Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representative Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield).

Among the many issues, the conference committee will need to resolve whether to include a luxury assessment on high cost care providers, the target for allowable health care cost growth, the level of financial support for a new wellness and prevention fund, the size and autonomy level of government oversight agencies, and the final contours of medical malpractice system reforms.

While many of the proposals in the bill are untested on the scale that legislators envision in their proposals, lawmakers believe their bills could cut projected health care spending in Massachusetts by $150 billion to $160 billion over the next 15 years while delivering more coordinated care to patients.

Once conference committees agree on a proposal, their recommendation is not subject to amendment, a fact that elevates the level of power held by the relatively small group of lawmakers.

 

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