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Patrick Praises Mass. Health Law Before Congress

Gov. Deval Patrick has testified before a congressional committee on the state's 2006 health law.

Patrick told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday that while health insurance is universally accessible in Massachusetts, it is not yet universally affordable.

Patrick detailed efforts he and others are undertaking to try to curb spending by instituting a system that rewards doctors and hospitals for improving patient care while limiting expensive but often unnecessary tests.

"What we need, more to the point, is a comprehensive payment reform and delivery system reform, which is what we are moving on now, and what is accelerated, frankly, by provisions in the Affordable Care Act," the governor said.

Patrick has his work cut out for him trying to persuade the Republican-led House of the benefits of the Massachusetts law. One of the House's first actions was a vote to repeal President Obama's national health care law, modeled after the Massachusetts law.

"The point is that in Massachusetts we stopped limiting our thinking to the same old two choices between a perfect solution and no solution at all," Patrick said. "We chose to try something and we moved, and it has worked."

Patrick was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and the Associated Press.

This program aired on March 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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