Contact: Cheri Andes - (617) 504-1754
Additional Contacts: Rev. Burns Stanfield - (617) 285-0039
Dr. Paul Hattis - (617) 270-6560
Controlling Health Care Costs:
A Step Forward for Massachusetts
BOSTON – Today, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to put a stake in the ground for health care cost containment – we celebrate that. This legislation will improve the health of our residents and strengthen our economy. The challenge of reducing costs is complex and will not be accomplished with this legislation alone. There will be more to do to make health care affordable for all Massachusetts residents, and GBIO pledges to remain engaged in helping the Commonwealth go the distance. “We invite all stake holders to meet with us publicly at a gathering of GBIO leaders on Tuesday September 17th, 2013 - one year from now - to evaluate the progress in controlling costs and assess the effectiveness of this legislation”, said Rev. Burns Stanfield, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Boston, President, GBIO.
GBIO finds two aspects of the law particularly encouraging:
Establishing a Spending Target:
We applaud the legislature, for once again taking an important step forward - continuing our legacy of leading the nation on health reform - by including a spending target. Specifically, per person health care spending is targeted to grow no more than the Gross State Product during the years of 2013-2017. Than a more aggressive target of GSP minus .5% is established for the years 2018-2022.
These targets have the potential to establish a clear incentive to make real changes that will reduce costs; eliminate waste; and improve patient care. However, to accomplish these aims an enhanced enforcement mechanism will likely be necessary.
Investing in Public Health:
We applaud the legislature for including an additional $60 million investment in public health to support innovation in community-based public health. This investment is vital because as health care costs soared for yet another decade, municipalities and the Commonwealth were forced to cut back on many services including education, law enforcement and violence prevention; infrastructure improvements and public health. Public health promotes healthy decisions and prevents disease at the population level, reducing health care spending over time.
This is not an end for GBIO’s focus on health care costs but a beginning, said Rev. Rosemary Lloyd, First Church Boston UU, “we pledge today to continue our work to ensure that all stakeholders, including consumers, insurance companies, providers and the Commonwealth live up to the goals of this legislation. Our goal is for health care to be truly affordable to all and to reverse the trend of ever increasing costs crowding out funding for essential services and needed investments in our future.”
The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) represents synagogues, churches, mosques, community organizations and small businesses in Boston and throughout the Greater Boston area. For the past twelve years, GBIO has been an active leader in working to: improve the quality and accessibility of health care for all; improve educational opportunities and reduce violence in the city and the suburbs; and support financial security through education and corporate and legislative changes.
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