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Council, members testify on aggregator legislation

The Providers' Council and three of its members testified on Tuesday, October 8 in support of a bill that could allow human services providers to aggregate for the purpose of purchasing health insurance.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Richard T. Moore, would allow the Providers' Council to become a qualified association and a health care purchasing cooperative. Council Director of Public Policy & Communications Bill Yelenak delivered the Council's testimony on Senate Bill 538. Michael Moloney, president and CEO of HMEA; Dafna Krouk-Gordon, president and CEO of TILL, Inc.; and Danielle Ferrier, vice president at Justice Resource Institute and executive director of Rediscovery also presented testimony in support of the legislation.

The State House News Service also covered the hearing and the Council's testimony in a brief published on Tuesday, October 8:

Representatives of human services workers appealed to lawmakers Tuesday to let them form health insurance-buying cooperatives, saying rising premium costs are stressing an industry that already suffers from high employee turnover. Michael Moloney, president and CEO of HMEA Inc., which provides services to disabled adults and children, said workers take home as little as $19,000 per year, leaving just over $40 a month available for health care. “You can’t make it in Massachusetts,” Maloney told lawmakers on the Health Care Financing Committee. “Staff who serve the disabled have become disabled financially.” Calling double-digit rate increase “not uncommon,” Bill Yelenak, director of public policy at The Providers Council, a human services trade group, said providers would see relief on health care costs if they could band together in a cooperative, the goal of their bill (S 538). Committee co-chairman Rep. Steven Walsh (D-Lynn) suggested changes to caps included in a 2010 health care cost control law might accomplish the goals of the bill pushed by small non-profit care providers. Walsh also told representatives of human services groups that they may see refunds. “The payers collected too much premium this year,” he said. Maloney said workers need relief because they can’t afford to get their cars fixed or buy food. “That could be the tag line for our health care - get less and pay more,” he said. - M. Norton/SHNS

A copy of the bill is available at the state's website. It currently has 30 co-sponsors. For more information about the legislation or the Council's legislative agenda, contact Bill Yelenak.