New Budget Amendments Could Reduce Healthcare Spending

Date: May 17, 2017

The state budget bill, which includes a study procedure for an outlandish $2,000-per-employee healthcare fee on businesses if their health insurance offering doesn’t meet state criteria, has gotten plenty of pushback from the Massachusetts business community. Reps. Marc Lombardo and Jim Lyons also introduced amendments that aimed to rein in healthcare spending and evaluate who is enrolled in MassHealth, which accounts for 40 percent of state spending.

Under the package of amendments, MassHealth would be trimmed to 30 percent of the budget, a control board would be created that is similar to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s, and savings would be redirected to communities.

NFIB/MA has spoken out repeatedly about the need to rein in healthcare spending, especially before asking small businesses to pick up the tab. And considering that a recent state audit uncovered $193 million in wasteful MassHealth spending, reform before new revenue efforts is more imperative than ever.

“What some legislators are trying to do is to address that problem instead of papering over the budget problems,” State Director Bill Vernon told the Lowell Sun. “We would like to see a more lasting solution, and that will have to involve some reforms on how to pay for healthcare.”

NFIB/MA also joined other business groups recently to try to block proposed new assessments, mandates, and reimbursements that would drive up healthcare costs. Opposed amendments were 24 (assessment to fund the prevention and wellness trust fund), 948 (mandated payment of noncontracted ambulance service providers), 1157 (reimbursement minimum for hospitals), and 413 (restrictions on step therapy).

Related Content: Analysis | Healthcare | Massachusetts

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