Baker aims to increase access to health care, reduce costs - dstemplate

Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new piece of legislation which he believes will increase access to health care and control costs for Massachusetts families.

The governor unveiled what his office described as a “comprehensive” health care package from Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester on Tuesday. He said the legislation called, “An Act Investing in the Future of Our Health,” builds on a health care bill his office filed in October 2019 “that had many similar components, goals and provisions.”

“Obviously, a few months later, the health care landscape changed dramatically, as did everything else with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baker added.

Baker said his office was able to implement some of the reforms included in the 2019 bill, first through emergency orders, and later in partnership with the legislature through a health care reform bill he signed early last year.

“For example, that 2019 bill proposed creating a framework for people to access health care services via telehealth, which did not exist here in Massachusetts at that time,” he said.

The pandemic made telehealth a “necessity,” according to Baker. His office authorized the practice through an emergency order in March 2020, and a law the governor signed last year created a “permanent framework” for telehealth moving forward.

“But that said, there’s still a lot more work to do to improve our health care system so that it better serves our families and our communities,” Baker noted.

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