While the majority of the House is busy spending your money and raising your taxes, Republican lawmakers continue to offer innovative, cost saving initiatives. And tonight, our Democratic colleagues even joined us in that effort.
We filed an amendment that encourages medical facilities to return unused, unexpired medication. This effort would save the Commonwealth at least $20 million annually, as nursing homes in Massachusetts alone are known to waste millions of dollars in unused prescriptions. This concept will also lead to a decrease in overall health care costs in the state.
While we are proud this amendment was adopted, we continue to be disappointed in the Majority Party’s lack of interest in other major cost saving measures and reforms.
Earlier tonight, we made an effort to amend the current Pacheco law. According to a study by the Pioneer Institute, the Pacheco Law requires private contractors to essentially jump through hoops in order to have their services utilized by Massachusetts. That same study concluded that the Commonwealth is the only state in the nation that has virtually outlawed the privatization of public services. Currently, contracts under $200 thousand don’t need to go through the intense application process. Our goal tonight, was to raise the threshold to $5 million in order to save the Commonwealth money, and make state government work more efficiently. That proposal was overwhelmingly rejected, despite the fact that the simple language change could save the state at least $20 million a year. In recent years, Virginia enacted a similar effort and it saved the state $100 million in the first year.
These are real cost saving measures our caucus is proposing regularly. We offered more than $350 million in cost savings programs and reforms and so far all have been rejected except for the medical waste proposal. If more were accepted, perhaps all this tax talk would come to a hush.