Milford legislator worries about impact of Baker health care bill

BOSTON—Gov. Charlie Baker’s new health care bill would require providers and insurers to increase primary care and behavioral health spending by 30% over three years, but a Milford legislator worries this will reduce funding for community hospitals such as Milford Regional Medical Center.

State Rep. Brian Murray, D-Milford, said the bill’s required $1.4 billion investment in primary care and behavioral health will mean cuts to other areas because overall funding is not being increased.

“You’d be robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he said. “Particularly coming off of COVID, community hospitals are very, very vulnerable.”

Murray, who serves on the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said he supports the bill’s increased funding in the accessibility of telehealth care, which has shown to be a helpful tool for follow-up and behavioral health visits.

The bill would also impose penalties on drug companies that implement excessive price increases and set a default payment rate for carriers to pay for some out-of-network services, which would remove patients from payment disputes and lessen costs.

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