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Gov. Deval Patrick is heading back to Washington, D.C on Thursday, to have his first meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The two are scheduled to discuss health care and cost containment issues. Patrick will also address a professional development event Sebelius is holding with her staff.
“I am confident they will be successful in leading the charge in driving down health care costs. I thank them for their willingness in taking on this important task,” Governor Deval Patrick said in a press release.
Massachusetts’ new health care reform law, which is the most ambitious statewide effort in the nation to keep health care costs low, went into effect on Nov. 5. It places a cap on the growth of health care costs.
In the next five years, the goal is keep the growth of health care costs to the percentage of growth in the state’s economy, which is projected to be around 3.6 percent in 2013. The annual growth in health care costs is targeted to be at 0.5 percent less than the growth of the state’s economy through 2022.
The law attempts to wring out costs of health care without compromising quality. It changes payment and delivery systems to make them more cost effective and efficient. It also expands the workforce for primary care, increasing price variations caused by healthcare companies that have large control in the regional healthcare market. Most importantly, it invests in wellness and prevention programs that have a large upside in reducing costs in the long-term.
“In my six years in office, healthcare has been a central issue. Given the significance of healthcare in every aspect of our lives, I think we are right to pay attention to healthcare,” said Patrick.
Patrick will return to Massachusetts this evening.