Health Care Reform Headed to Governor
Joyce supports measure to rein in costs, save billions

BOSTON – Senator Brian A. Joyce has supported legislation to help control costs that have resulted from Massachusetts’ historic health care law which will again make the state a national leader in the health care debate. The Senate and House voted for the conference committee compromise on Senate Bill 2400 and the bill has been sent to the governor for his signature.

“This bill will alleviate the pressures many of our families and businesses are feeling over the ever increasing costs of health care,” said Joyce, the Senate Vice Chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing. “When we’re able to help keep the cost of health care down for small businesses, that money is freed up for reinvestment and job creation. This bill will require the state to lead by example and will create transparency measures to hold both private and public insurers accountable to the people.”

The legislation establishes a statewide health care cost growth goal for the health care industry which dictates that costs cannot grow faster than the state’s overall economy. The initiative will result in savings up to $200 billion over the next 15 years. The reform applies not only to private insurers, but also any state funded health care programs like Medicaid.

The bill increases transparency and accountability by requiring health care provider systems to register with the state and report regularly on financial performance, market share, cost trends and quality measures, while allowing the state’s attorney general to monitor the market to ensure patient access and quality care.

It also invests in the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and its small businesses by dedicating $60 million over the next four years for community-based prevention, public health and wellness efforts to combat the high costs of preventable diseases and $135 million for infrastructure improvements at community hospitals. There is also a $10,000 wellness tax credit for businesses that implement programs to promote employee health and control the cost of employer health care premiums and it requires health insurance companies to adjust their premiums for small businesses that implement such programs.

“Even when the original law was passed, we realized that we needed to reduce the growth in health care costs while improving health care quality and patient care,” said Joyce. “Without the action we took today, health spending would double from 2009 to 2020 and result in enormous financial pressures for individual households, businesses, and state and local governments.”