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Mass. Senate Weighs Bill To Contain Health Costs

The Massachusetts Senate is weighing a bill aimed at curbing soaring health care costs for individuals and small businesses.

Senate President Therese Murray says the bill will ease market instability, smooth out annual fluctuations in premiums and require insurers to offer affordable small business plans.

Murray says the bill would make it easier for the public to compare insurers based on medical expenses, relative price and standard quality measures. Brian Rossman, research director at the Boston-based organization Health Care for All, called this "transparency provision" important for helping the public better comprehend how their health dollars are being spent.

The bill would also require hospitals in better financial shape to put money back into the health care system to lower premiums.

Rossman stressed the necessity for legislation to address health costs.

"There's a severe crisis right now in Massachusetts, in the short term, with health insurance rates just skyrocketing," Rossman said. "So we think it's appropriate to ask all parties, employers, make contributions, businesses, hospitals, insurers, consumers."

The debate comes on the heels of the release of a report that finds most Massachusetts hospitals added to their financial assets during the past five years.

This program aired on May 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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