For Immediate Release - March 21, 2011

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION TO HOLD HEALTH CARE COST-CONTAINMENT FORUM

Event will examine the current state of health care costs in Massachusetts and cost-containment initiatives underway

BOSTON -- Monday, March 21, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced his Administration will hold a forum to discuss health care cost containment efforts underway in the Commonwealth and gather feedback from stakeholders on current industry practices. This event will present information on the current state of health care costs in Massachusetts, as well as the initiatives underway to help the Commonwealth contain costs and involve the general public in ongoing health care reforms.

The forum will be held on April 5th at 9 a.m. in the Gardner Auditorium, and will include panelists including Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez and Executive Director of the Health Connector Glen Shor.

"We have led the nation on health care reform and we are going to do it again on health care cost containment," said Governor Patrick. "This forum is an opportunity to highlight the various tools government, consumers, insurers and providers can utilize to control costs while ensuring that the people of Massachusetts continue to receive world-class care."

Several of the proposals to be discussed during the forum include legislation filed by Governor Patrick in January to help cities and towns realize immediate cost savings in their municipal health insurance plans; the Administration's comprehensive health care payment and delivery reform legislation filed in February to control rising health care costs and improve patient care; and the Massachusetts Health Connector's procurement strategy to contain costs by promoting innovation and competition among the state's managed care organizations. In addition, the Group Insurance Commission's efforts to control rate increases and incent employees to move to lower cost plans will be examined.

Massachusetts leads the nation in the percentage of residents with health insurance, with more than 98 percent of people covered. Since passage of health care reform legislation in 2006, the rate of insurance coverage has increased for all income levels and among all racial and ethnic groups. As of June 2010, more than 400,000 people in Massachusetts had insurance than had previously been uninsured. The Commonwealth has achieved near universal coverage for children, with 99.8 percent insured, including 20,000 more children enrolled in MassHealth during the past year alone. While Massachusetts has shown national leadership in expanding access to health care, costs continue to be a challenge.

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