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Mass. Speaker urges caution on health costs plan

March 15, 2011

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BOSTON—Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo says the state shouldn't rush into changes to the health care payment system.

DeLeo was asked Tuesday after a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce how quickly the House might act on a cost containment measure like the one proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick addressed the same group last month.

DeLeo said he shares the goal of bringing down costs, but said lawmakers should "make sure we get it right."

Patrick's legislation calls for rewarding doctors and hospitals for improving overall patient care while limiting expensive but often unnecessary medical tests.

The speaker said he hoped to pass a bill during the current two-year session, but wasn't sure it could be finished in 2011.