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editorial

State health care bill should focus on areas of broad agreement

The long effort to develop an effective cost-containment law for the Massachusetts health care system has entered a worrisome phase. With just two weeks left in the Legislature’s formal session, a conference committee is reportedly making little headway on resolving critical differences and arriving at compromise legislation.

The committee pits House legislators pushing hard for a plan that would give state regulators broad powers to enforce health care cost caps against Senate negotiators arguing for using a lighter hand to nudge the market toward more cost-conscious practices. Several knowledgeable sources say things have grown so tense that one meeting last week ended abruptly, with legislators snapping at each other.

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