Massachusetts lawmakers say a new health care bill they approved will help small businesses combat rising health care costs and force insurers to spend more on medical care and less on administrative costs.
The legislation passed Saturday allows small businesses to form cooperatives to strengthen their purchasing power. It also requires insurers to promote low-cost health care providers in their networks.
Supporters estimate the bill would help small businesses save 10 percent on health care premium costs. They also say it sets the stage for further reforms in the next legislative session that starts in January.
A controversial tax on hospitals, which was included in the Senate’s original version, was stripped out of the compromise bill.
The bill is now on Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk. He has said he supports it.