The Patrick-Murray Administration today hosted the first informational forum for members of the public and stakeholders on the implementation of the Commonwealth's historic health care cost containment law, Chapter 224, "An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation." Signed by Governor Deval Patrick on August 6, the law goes into effect on November 5. The outreach event served as an opportunity to reconvene the broad spectrum of legislators, stakeholders and advocates who helped make the law possible and give members of the public the opportunity to weigh in with suggestions and concerns before it takes effect.
"In Massachusetts we believe that access to affordable, quality health care is a public good," said Governor Patrick. "As we launch the next phase of health care reform, we are committed to providing an open, accessible platform to continue our discussion on properly implementing this important law, and to move us closer to a health care system that is as affordable as it is accessible."
Represented at the forum were officials from the Executive Offices of Health and Human Services, Administration and Finance, Housing and Economic Development, Labor and Workforce Development and the Connector Authority, as well as health care providers, labor organizations, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and consumer advocates.
The Patrick-Murray Administration also announced today that the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP), a key requirement of implementing the Governor's cost containment legislation. The proposal will accelerate changes to the way doctors, hospitals and other health care providers are paid for their services. The RFP kicks off the annual bidding and contracting process between health plans and the state. The move, which demonstrates that the state is leading by example, will help to limit growth in premiums, avoid higher copays and deductibles and improve patient health. The GIC estimates it will save taxpayers $1.29 billion over the five year term of the contract with improved quality of care and no reduction in benefits.
Last month, the Administration launched a website dedicated to the Governor's cost containment law, with detailed information about the law and notices of upcoming events related to the law's implementation. The site serves as a clearinghouse for information on efforts to control health care costs, creating a transparent home for updates on progress, and other information important to consumers throughout the Commonwealth. Stakeholder groups are encouraged to share the website with their constituents as a valuable resource to understand health care cost containment and the implementation process in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts leads the nation in health care coverage for its residents. Thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration's successful implementation of the 2006 landmark health care reform law, more than 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have health care coverage, including 99.8 percent of children -- something no other state in America has achieved. Governor Patrick launched the next phase of health care reform by signing the cost containment law in August that will lower costs and make quality, affordable care a reality for all Massachusetts residents.
The forum was the first in a series of outreach events to educate the public and stakeholders on the implementation process of Chapter 224. The public can also e-mail concerns, comments and questions regarding the new law to firstname.lastname@example.org.