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AG Coakley Unveils Plan To Control Health Provider Costs

Attorney General Martha Coakley is out with a plan to control excessive hospital and physician prices.

Coakley says too many hospitals in Massachusetts are paid what they demand, not a price based on quality. She suggests giving hospitals and insurers a few years to reduce unreasonable prices, but if they can’t…

"In place by 2015 should be a temporary system that will make sure providers rates are neither more than 20 percent above or 20 percent below what the plan’s average price was for the previous year," Coakley said Friday.

Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby says a bill filed by Gov. Deval Patrick addresses the same issue by requiring insurers to answer a key question:

"What have you done for these high-paid providers to try to bring their costs down?" Bigby said. "And maybe you need to go back to the drawing boards."

Coakley says health care cost control legislation must also limit consolidation of hospitals into large networks and require that providers tell patients how much a test, procedure or ambulance ride might cost them.

Coakley is briefing legislative leaders on her plan as lawmakers prepare a health care cost control plan for release early next year.

This program aired on November 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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