Gov. Charlie Baker files new health care legislation to expand treatment  access, prioritize mental health services -

Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled a bill Tuesday that he said would help expand access to primary care and mental health services and help control rising health care and prescription drug costs.

The Republican detailed the legislation during a stop at a health care center in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.

Baker said the state has some unfinished business when it comes to expanding health care access in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the bill aims to increase investments in behavioral health care services, control factors that drive up health care costs and improve access to high quality coordinated care for people dealing with multiple health care challenges.

“The pandemic demonstrated that while our health care system does many things very well — and thankfully we all saw that first hand every single day — we still have a number of significant issues and problems we need to solve,” he said.

One of the top remaining challenges is making sure that those in need of behavioral health care services are treated on par with those with physical health care needs.

The bill would require health care providers and payers to increase expenditures on primary care and behavioral health by 30% over three years, with the initial performance period ending in 2024.

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