Six lawmakers were selected Thursday to negotiate the differences between House and Senate proposals for controlling health care spending in the state. The conference committee will include Senator Richard Moore and Representative Steven Walsh, both Democrats, who led efforts to craft the two bills.
Michael Norton of the State House News Service reports that they are joined by Democrats Senator Anthony Petruccelli and House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano and by Republicans Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Representative Jay Barrows.
Globe reporter Liz Kowalczyk lays out the basic ideas in the bills passed by the House and Senate:
Their plans contain key differences, particularly over how much the health care industry can be relied on to control costs on its own. The Senate bill generally allows doctors and hospitals more leeway to find their own solutions, while the House wants more oversight.
Both plans require the health care industry to reduce the growth in spending. By 2016, the House calls for spending to shrink to half a percentage point less than the rate of growth of the average gross state product, a measure of economic activity. The Senate believes the industry should not be forced to grow more slowly than the economy overall.
The House also is proposing a “luxury tax” on providers that charge prices deemed excessive and that they cannot prove are linked to above-average quality or unique services.
Norton reports that the conference committee is expected to face heavy lobbying from other lawmakers and from the health care industry. Once the members agree on a plan, it is not subject to outside amendments.