BOSTON, Mass. — A new law signed Monday by Gov. Deval Patrick seeks to rein in the state's health care costs and includes a $60 million Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund added at the urging of state Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester).
The trust fund is the first of its kind in the nation, according to Chandler, and seeks to lower insurance costs by investing in the public's health. Paid for by a surcharge on insurers, the fund will cover grants that communities and health care providers will use to combat preventable illnesses. The fund will also pay for tax credits for employers to set up wellness programs for their workers.
After the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, July 31, Chandler praised the legislation and the work that had gone into it.
"I am pleased to have been a part of such a dynamic legislative session in which a model piece of legislation was passed," Chandler said. "This bill is necessary, as we’re seeing a trend of increasing prices in most markets. Health care costs should not be too burdensome on families and businesses, and I hope that this bill prevents future cost increases while boosting the economy."
The new cost-control law will require health costs to increase at the same rate as the state's economy for the next five years. At that point, spending will be further limited to half a percentage point below economic growth for five more years.
Chandler added that the bill is estimated to save the state $200 billion over the next 15 years.