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Mass. Lawmakers Give Initial OK to Health Bill

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill designed to save up to $200 billion in health care costs over the next 15 years.

Gov. Deval Patrick said he looks forward to signing the bill.

Legislative leaders say the bill will also help guarantee the future of the state’s landmark 2006 health care law and set Massachusetts on a path to being the first state to holding the future growth of health care costs close to the rate of inflation.

The bill also encourages the creation of so-called “accountable care organizations” which take a more coordinated approach to medicine, while also giving residents better access to their medical records and cutting down on unnecessary testing.

The legislation also includes $135 million in grants to help community hospitals adopt electronic medical records systems.

AP-WF-07-31-12 2314GMT