In an unprecedented move, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a state-level cap on healthcare spending. This effort, which seeks to reduce the cost and raise the quality of healthcare in the state, is an extension of the universal healthcare system that former Governor Mitt Romney championed and signed into law. Today 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have healthcare. The Boston Herald explains the political background of the legislation:
State Rep. Steven Walsh (D-Lynn), who co-chaired the committee that crafted the bill, said the program is expected to save at least $150 billion over 15 years and that the average family will save about $2,000 a year.
“That’s real money for real working families,” Walsh said.
Although creating the new agency is estimated to cost about $30 million, Walsh said other departments are being consolidated.
Both Walsh and a spokesman for House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo dismissed the idea that the bill was rammed through, pointing out it was four years in the making and that Walsh’s Committee on Health Care Financing visited 54 hospitals, held 800 meetings with doctors and patients and talked to a dozen academic experts.
Moody’s details the components of the legislation (subscription required):