House Committee Supports Senate Bill on Health Care Costs

CONCORD – The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee voted 17-0 today to recommend passage of Senate Bill 505, which would create a health care cost containment commission.

The House committee made a couple of changes to the bill — expanding the commission’s membership from seven to 11 members by adding several public members, including a representative of small business. It also gives the commission more time to issue its report – setting the reporting date at July 1, 2012 instead of Nov. 1, 2011.

“I’m very pleased that the House Commerce Committee gave unanimous bipartisan support to SB505 so that the state can move forward to contain health care costs,” said Senator Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter), the lead sponsor.

Under Senate Bill 505, the commission would be charged with looking at the health care reimbursement system, including the impact of federal health care reform, options for implementing a common payment system and ways to encourage the use of incentives to improve quality and efficiency.

Goals would include finding ways to promote competition in health insurance, reduce or eliminate payment differentials, ensure access, fairly allocate the burden of charity care, promote public access to cost information and contain the increase in health care costs.

The costs of the Commission on Health Care Cost Containment would be covered by a one-time assessment, with half paid by insurers and the other half paid by hospital and ambulatory surgical centers in proportion to their net operation revenue.

“The Commission on Health Care Cost Containment will give the public an important seat at the table as we work to reduce health care costs and improve quality,” Hassan said.