Health bill signed amid hopes for $200b in savings

Bill builds on law passed when GOP candidate Mitt Romney was governor

Boston Globe
August 7, 2012
By Michael Levenson

Six years after Governor Mitt Romney required every resident to obtain health insurance, Governor Deval Patrick signed a law that many consider the second phase of that groundbreaking experiment: trying to rein in the state’s health costs, which are among the highest in the nation.

The new law — which Patrick signed Monday at a State House ceremony packed with hospital executives, health care advocates, and lawmakers — seeks to keep health spending from growing faster than the state’s economy through 2017. For five years after that, the law aims to further slow spending, to half a percentage point below the growth of the economy.

Supporters say the law could save $200 billion in health costs over the next 15 years by encouraging providers to use fewer costly medical procedures, to better coordinate care to keep patients out of the hospital, and to steer patients to lower-cost caregivers.

“We are ushering in the end of the fee-for-service care system in Massachusetts in favor of better care, at lower cost,” Patrick said, to applause from a stage in Nurses Hall that was bathed in blue light and decorated with the flags of Massachusetts and the United States.

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