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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Murray Cost Control Bill Moves on ... Unchanged

Murray Cost Control Bill Moves on ... Unchanged

April 9, 2008

Today the Legislature's Joint Committee on Health Care Financing favorably reported S2526, Senate President Murray’s Cost Control Bill. No changes were made and 52 other bills were attached (list will be posted here tomorrow). State House News Service reports the Senate is planning floor action on the measure on April 17.

Sen. Dick Moore, Committee Co-Chair, said the bill was being reported to Senate Ways & Means so the Senate could work on the bill while the House does the FY09 budget. Moore assured Committee members that staff are looking at all testimony and will find ways to incorporate many ideas in the legislation to be reported from SW&M. He estimated the bills' cost at $49,588,000, and said savings would “be much more”.

What does this mean for the cost control issue? One -- the Senate is serious and eager to enact significant cost control legislation, it looks like it will happen this month. Two -- the House also seems "potentially" eager, and is not willing yet to commit to details. The House wanted more time -- reasonable for a large and complex bill. The Senate wanted to move in a hurry -- reasonable because there are less than four months left in the session and the budget debate has not yet even begun. Today's solution allows the Senate to move forward and the House to take its time to do more analysis. The best possible solution for those who want something on costs to happen.

For those who remember the "health reform phase one" legislative process, the House and Speaker DiMasi let everyone else -- Gov. Romney and the Senate -- go first. Then, in memorable fashion, he weighed in. "Health reform phase two" may repeat this pattern.

The next Health Care Financing executive session is April 15th at 1PM in Room B-1.