chapter 224

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New Mass. Health Cost-Cutting Law Takes Effect Today

Stuart Altman of Brandeis University, chair of the new state Health Policy Commission

WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports:

A state law that aims to limit spending on health care takes effect today. 

The law makes Massachusetts the first state to say that health care costs must stop increasing faster than that of most other goods and services.  

A new board that will set a health care spending target and track progress towards that goal has a chairman, and a first meeting date, but the members have not yet been appointed.  

More than a dozen other boards and commissions designed to improve care also exist in name only so far.  

Several provisions in the law take effect immediately or as soon as the state puts new guidelines in place. They include new restrictions on mandatory overtime for nurses, a requirement that providers offer end of life planning to patients nearing death and rules for the use of telemedicine.
 

There’s a nice recent summary of the law and its rationale here: How a new Mass. law can show the future of health reform.