Mass. Lawmakers Looking To Lower Family Healh Care Costs

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts House leaders unveiled a health care payment bill Friday that they say will lower family premiums by nearly $2,000 annually over the next five years in part by cutting waste and inefficiency out of the existing health care system.

The approximately 150-page bill detailed Friday is designed to reward doctors and hospitals for keeping patients healthy instead of paying them for each operation or service they provide.

It creates a new consumer website with price and quality information categorized by medical procedure to help patients compare hospitals and insurers, while overhauling medical malpractice laws by letting doctors apologize for mistakes without fearing a lawsuit and creating a 180-day “cooling off period” to give both sides a chance to reach a settlement.

The bill would also establish a new quasi-public agency — the Division of Health Care Cost and Quality — to oversee the new law and consolidate the state’s various health care agencies.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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