State lawmakers explore ways to cut MassHealth costs

The state spends upwards of $15 million on health care annually

BOSTON (WWLP) – State funding for health care is expected to reach the billions this upcoming fiscal year and that money is coming out of your pocket.

The state’s version of Medicaid, MassHealth, is the most expensive item in the fiscal 2016 budget, costing taxpayers upwards of $15 billion dollars annually. State lawmakers, aides and lobbyists gathered for a briefing on the program.

“MassHealth is a program that serves, it serves the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor,” said State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Boston).

State lawmakers are looking for ways to curb soaring health care costs to help close a $1.8 billion dollar budget gap. The Baker administration expects to see $400 million dollars in savings by requiring everyone enrolled in MassHealth to prove they are still eligible for a subsidy.

22News asked Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler what the state would do if it does not meet Baker’s projections. She said “well, we’re going to see cuts, obviously. That’s a problem.”

As state lawmakers explore ways to drive costs down, they hope the quality of health care will not be compromised. “How do we bend the cost curve, but also improve the quality that patients receive on a day-to-day basis in the system,” added Sanchez.

MassHealth is expected to provide nearly two million Massachusetts residents with health insurance next year.

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