On Oct. 18, Gov. Charlie Baker filed a wide-ranging health care bill that would require providers and insurers to increase spending on primary care, geriatrics and behavioral health, including addiction services, while keeping health care spending within the state’s overall cost growth benchmark.

The bill aims to improve care by shifting the trajectory of our health care system from promoting and supporting technological advancements in medicine to preventive care. Embedded in the bill is a recognition that physical and mental health are related. The bill incorporates behavioral health, addiction and recovery, primary care and geriatric services more directly into care delivery strategies.

The bill (H. 4134) would require a 30% increase in primary care and behavioral health spending over three years.

The bill includes prohibitions on “surprise” billing practices and hospital facility fees in order to reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers. The bill includes measures to regulate urgent care services, advance telemedicine, penalize pharmaceutical companies that drastically raise prices, and remove outdated restrictions for mid-level clinicians.

The MMA is analyzing the bill to determine its potential impact on municipalities and will continue to report on developments as the bill makes its way through the legislative process.

Written by