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Legislators Have Two Weeks to Reach Agreement on Health Care Cost Control

Both the Massachusetts House and Senate bills addressing cost containment appear to be stuck in committee.

 

The committee charged with arriving at a health care cost containment bill both the Senate and House can agree on before July 31 is making little headway, according to the Boston Globe.

The two chambers have passed different versions of a bill that seeks to reign in rising health care costs. House leaders estimate that their bill, which pegs spending targets to the states's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will save the commonwealth upward of $160 billion over the next 15 years. The Senate's plan also ties spending to GDP, but less aggressively.

The House seeks to have spending on health care growing at half a percentage point less than the rate of GDP growth by 2016. The Senate bill calls for the two numbers to be growing at the same rate by that year. 

Leaders from both chambers must reach a consensus plan that could be passed by the House and Senate, and be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, by the end of the Legislative session on July 31.

A large part of both plans involves funding an independent agency to oversee costs, an initiative alone that could cost up to $40 million, the Globe reports

The Senate plan would require health care providers to disclose costs and encourage prevention of common illnesses, along with tracking service price variations in which a commission would determine if the cost differences are valid, according to WBUR

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