HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO signaled on Tuesday that he and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg are on the same page when it comes to passing health care reform legislation.
Rosenberg told the Health Policy Commission on Monday that spending on MassHealth was rising way too fast and crowding out other funding needs. DeLeo told the commission on Tuesday that the pace of MassHealth spending was “unsustainable.”
Rosenberg said the Senate will vote on its health care bill before Thanksgiving and then send it to the House. DeLeo said he was okay with that timetable and indicated the House would probably report out a bill next year.
Rosenberg said the Senate bill would draw from proposals put forth by the governor, a commission charged with addressing pricing disparity among hospitals, and the Senate’s own research. DeLeo said he would follow the same playbook, although he was a bit more specific about what he wanted to see in a House bill.
The speaker said the House is focused on consumer information and engagement, particularly around pharmaceutical spending. He also said the House was likely to adopt some recommendations of a commission that studied price variation among hospitals, including proposals dealing with out-of-network and surprise billing. He said the House legislation would promote telemedicine and adopt some of the proposals put forth at the end of the last legislative session by Gov. Charlie Baker. Without being specific, DeLeo said some of Baker’s proposals need more work and others are not tenable.
The speaker made clear winning approval of a health care bill in the Legislature won’t be easy. “We have two obligations here,” he told reporters. “The concern is that the most vulnerable citizens among us are not burdened as a result of whatever plan we come up with. On the other hand, Massachusetts is known for having the finest medical institutions in the country, if not the world. The other concern I have is that some of the wonderful research and development that’s going on at our fine institutions is not hindered as well. That’s what makes getting to a proper answer so difficult. …Add in the uncertainty in Washington, and it makes it a very, very difficult process to try to put it together.”