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General Laws

Section 9. (a) Not later than April 15 of every year, the board shall establish a health care cost growth benchmark for the average growth in total health care expenditures in the commonwealth for the next calendar year. The commission shall establish procedures to prominently publish the annual health care cost growth benchmark on the commission’s website.

(b) The commission shall establish the annual health care cost growth benchmark as follows:

(1) For calendar years 2013 through 2017, the health care cost growth benchmark shall be equal to the growth rate of potential gross state product established under section 7H1/2 of chapter 29; provided, however, that the growth rate of potential gross state product for calendar year 2013 shall be 3.6 per cent.

(2) For calendar years 2018 through 2022, the health care cost growth benchmark shall be equal to the growth rate of potential gross state product established under said section 7H1/2 of said chapter 29, minus 0.5 per cent.

(3) For calendar years 2023 and beyond, the health care cost growth benchmark shall be equal to the growth rate of potential gross state product established under said section 7H1/2 of said chapter 29.

(c) For calendar years 2018 through 2022, if the commission determines that an adjustment in the health care cost growth benchmark is reasonably warranted, having first considered any testimony at the public hearing as required under subsection (f), the board of the commission may modify the health care cost growth benchmark such that the health care cost growth benchmark shall be set at an amount between minus 0.5 per cent of the growth of the potential gross state product and an amount equal to the growth of the potential gross state product.

(d) For calendar years 2018 through 2022, on or after January 15 but not later than January 31 of the second year of a biennial session of the general court, the board shall submit notice of its intention to modify the health care cost growth benchmark under subsection (c) to the joint committee on health care financing. Within 30 days of such filing, the joint committee shall hold a public hearing on the board’s proposed modification to the health care cost growth benchmark. The joint committee shall report its findings to the general court together with any necessary legislation, including its recommendation, within 30 days of the public hearing and provide a copy of its findings and legislation to the board. If the general court does not enact legislation with respect to the board’s recommended modification to the health care cost growth benchmark within 45 days of the public hearing, the board’s modification to the health care cost growth benchmark shall take effect.

(e) For calendar years 2023 through 2032, if the commission determines that an adjustment in the health care cost growth benchmark is reasonably warranted, having first considered any testimony at a public hearing as required under subsection (f), the board of the commission may recommend a modification of the health care cost growth benchmark, in any amount as determined by the commission. On or after January 15 but not later than January 31 of the second year of a biennial session of the general court, the board shall submit notice of its recommendation for any modification to the joint committee on health care financing. Within 30 days of such filing, the joint committee may hold a public hearing on the board’s proposed modification to the health care cost growth benchmark. The joint committee may report its findings, to the general court together with legislation, including its recommendation on whether to affirm or reject the board’s recommendation, within 30 days of the public hearing and provide a copy of its findings and proposed legislation to the board.

(f) Prior to making any recommended modification to the health care cost growth benchmark under subsections (c), (d) and (e), the board shall hold a public hearing on any such recommended modification. The public hearing shall be based on the report submitted by the center under section 16 of chapter 12C comparing the growth in total health care expenditures to the health care cost growth benchmark for the previous calendar year, any other data provided by the center and such other pertinent information or data as may be available to the board. The hearings shall examine health care provider, provider organization and private and public health care payer costs, prices and cost trends, with particular attention to factors that contribute to cost growth within the commonwealth’s health care system, and whether, based on the testimony, information and data, a modification in the health care cost growth benchmark is appropriate. The commission shall provide public notice of such hearing at least 45 days prior to the date of the hearing, including notice to the joint committee on health care financing. The joint committee on health care financing may participate in the hearing. The commission shall identify as witnesses for the public hearing a representative sample of providers, provider organizations, payers and such other interested parties as the commission may determine. Any other interested parties may testify at the hearing.

(g) Any recommendation of the commission to modify the health care cost growth benchmark under subsections (d) or (e) shall be approved by a two thirds vote of the board.

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