In January, I forecast the Legislature’s priority to address containment of health care costs during this session. Here we are, in March, the day after the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a lengthy and productive hearing on bills related to just that. The Committee now begins the process of parsing the bills and redrafting what promises to be the most significant health reform legislation since Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006. Cost-containment is no small challenge. It is, in many ways, a greater one than expanding access to coverage. But it is a similar challenge in that it requires significant investments before some of the savings can be realized. Responsibility for expanding access had to be shared, and now investing in cost-containment has to be shared as well.
As expected, the hearing demonstrated the willingness of our provider, purchaser, and patient organizations to step forward and be part of the discussion, to be proactive and engaged. The Legislature relied on that collaboration during the development and enactment of Chapter 58, and this debate will be no different. One of the hallmarks of the development of Chapter 58 was that all stakeholders were heard and at the table. Many of the same groups and individuals will be at the table again, and we all look forward to another inclusive process.
We are approaching the third year of implementation of Chapter 58. It’s time for the cost and quality of health care in the Commonwealth to join access on the road to success for our patients—insured and uninsured, alike.
Salvatore F. DiMasi
Speaker, Massachusetts House of Representatives
This program aired on March 13, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.