Massachusetts House leaders released a revised plan Wednesday to curb health care costs, keeping several key provisions intact, including a requirement that the health care industry cut spending growth in half by 2016.
The reworked proposal, which was the focus of intense lobbying by hospitals, businesses, and other groups, also retains a provision that would impose a luxury tax on certain expensive providers and would redistribute the money to struggling hospitals.
The House, however, appears to have softened a stipulation that would require hospitals in large networks such as Partners HealthCare and Steward Health Care to negotiate contracts with insurers separately.
This measure is intended to reduce the market clout that powerful companies have used to negotiate higher fees from insurers, but Partners and other networks have argued that separate contracting would harm their ability to coordinate patient care.
House members have until Friday to file amendments and Representative Steven Walsh, a Lynn Democrat who is leading the House efforts, said the House probably will debate it next week.
Compared with the House legislation, the Senate bill generally allows doctors and hospitals more leeway to find their own solutions to the cost crisis, and contains less aggressive spending limits. Governor Deval Patrick filed a third cost control bill last year, which would allow his administration to directly scrutinize contracts between insurers and providers.
State leaders hope to come to an agreement by the end of July on how best to approach the problem of soaring health care costs, which some argue have moderated already because of efforts by providers and insurers to cut unnecessary spending.
Health care leaders still were digesting the 188-page House legislation Wednesday, but they initially seemed to be divided about the changes, as they were over the original bill.
The bill doubles the number of patients that can join accountable care organizations — large provider groups banding together to coordinate patient care — which is also better for large networks. They would be allowed to care for up to 800,000 patients under the reworked bill.
The legislation also responds to complaints from providers, insurers, and consumer groups on the powers of an independent authority charged with enforcing limits on spending growth, Walsh said. The authority has been moved under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Walsh said the authority would still have an independent board but that “now there is more government control.’’
A key component of the House bill calls for health care spending to grow half a percentage point less than the the state’s economy overall by 2016. A measure of state economic activity, called the potential gross state product, is projected to grow 3.6 percent annually this year and next.
Richard Lord, president of Associated Industries, said the target “is not as aggressive as we would like, but it’s a good start.’’
But Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, criticized the spending benchmark and said the revised bill still gives the new authority too much power to interfere with finances of providers and insurers.