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Notes from a Hearing on Sen. Murray's Cost Control Bill

Notes from a Hearing on Sen. Murray's Cost Control Bill

March 13, 2008

Here's the State House News Service account of today's hearing in Gardner Auditorium:

Senate President Therese Murray's health care cost control legislation received mostly positive reviews during a public hearing on it Wednesday afternoon, although some said it didn’t go far enough and others warned of unintended consequences. With health care costs gobbling up larger portions of government, business and household budgets, those who turned out for the hearing said cost control is critical and that while the legislation could be improved, it sets the state off in an important and correct direction. The first to testify during the afternoon Health Care Finance Committee hearing, Murray said rising health care costs are “squeezing” state finances for education, public safety and transportation. The committee asked Murray no questions about her bill on her bill (S 2526), which was just unveiled last week.

Others observations:
About 150-200 attendees. Wide cross section of health industry folks. Good show of committee members -- 12 of 17 by my count.

Confrontation between opponents of pharmaceutical industry gifts (two reps from Pharma) and a rep from the Mass. Biotech Council on one side and Sen. Richard Moore, Senate Chair, on the other. Biotech rep said industry no longer gives gifts of value or sponsor's lunches. Moore remarked -- it's good for you you're not under oath.

Worcester's UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial shined for two reasons. One -- for their commitment to training primary care physicians, and two, for their ban on pharmaceutical industry gifts.

HCFA sponsored two panels: one defending the legislation's proposals on the pharmaceutical gift ban and promoting the bill's proposal for a state academic detailing program. The second panel included speakers discussing the eHealth and quality sections of the legislation.

Lots more. Seems like the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing is ready to give the legislation serious consideration. Health Reform Phase II is off and running.
John McDonough