Mass. House Releases Major Healthcare Overhaul

The Massachusetts House of Representatives could begin consideration as early as tomorrow on a massive healthcare reform bill. The legislation, entitled “An Act Establishing the Honorable Peter V. Kocot Act to Enhance Access to High Quality, Affordable and Transparent Health Care in the Commonwealth,” was released from the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing last Tuesday. Amendments were due by close of business Friday in anticipation of this week’s debate.

The proposal, while narrower in scope than the legislation approved by the State Senate last November, addresses many of the same policy issues.  The House bill also contains provisions to expand telemedicine services, increase state oversight of the pharmaceutical industry, address patient “surprise billing,” and stabilize community hospitals.  However, the two chambers chose very different approaches in how best to address these challenges. 

Last week, MHA released a statement on the legislation, saying that “the broad intent of the House healthcare bill – increasing access, improving quality, reducing costs and enhancing transparency – reflects goals shared by hospitals and the broader healthcare community.” MHA continues to engage in conversations with the House and will be closely following the debate process.