Lawmakers gearing up for debate on health care cost containment bill

Lawmakers hope to vote on the bill before they go on recess starting November 16

BOSTON (WWLP)—Beacon Hill Lawmakers are gearing up to debate a bill aimed at containing health care costs in Massachusetts. The Senate’s health care legislation includes dozens of provisions aimed at lowering health care spending in Massachusetts while increasing access to high quality health care.

22News spoke with State Senator Jim Welch (D-West Springfield) who led efforts to write the bill.

“We anticipate debating the health care legislation next week,” Welch told 22News. “We hope to have, on the Senate side, have the debate concluded and have a bill sent to the House before we break in November.”

The bill includes measures to reduce hospital re-admissions and emergency department visits, lower prescription drug spending and lessen unexpected costs for consumer care.

Advocates with Mass Home Care think the bill could do more to increase access to long term service and support. Elderly and people with disabilities rely on this kind of care.

“We’re saying take a look at the other end when people are leaving a hospital—what happens to them, how easy is it for them to get into a nursing home, are they there because they need to be or could they be home? Because older people tell us again and again, there’s no care like home care,” Executive Director Al Norman of Mass Home Care said.

Mass Home Care represents care coordination agencies, including WestMass ElderCare in Holyoke and LifePath in Greenfield.

Many of their members rely on services, like home care, to help them with daily activities including bathing, dressing and preparing meals.

Lawmakers hope to vote on the bill before they go on recess starting November 16. They won’t have any formal sessions for seven weeks.