Press Statement From Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director Of Health Care For All, Regarding The Massachusetts Senate Health Care Bill

Friday, November 3, 2017

 

"Health Care For All applauds the continued progress of the health care bill as it passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, and urges Senators to continue to support the many provisions that improve care and lower costs. 

"This comprehensive bill takes bold action to reduce health costs, protect consumers in health insurance plans, advance oral health, and improve the quality of our care. We're pleased that the Senate Ways and Means Committee strengthened a number of provisions to make this health care plan even more consumer-friendly. 

"By not including a number of harmful MassHealth changes, the bill would block efforts to limit benefits and eligibility for MassHealth members. We also support many of the provisions of the bill, including important proposals to

  • require the Health Policy Commission to operate an education program to help doctors prescribe based on clinical data instead of promotional information;

  • establish uniform quality measures for all health care providers, which include oral health measures;

  • reduce hospital readmissions by 20%;

  • protect patients from receiving unexpected bills for out-of-network care;

  • require reporting of employers with over 50 workers using public health benefits;

  • authorize dental therapists to provide safe, affordable dental care to those without access to good oral health, and expanding community job opportunities;

  • expand telemedicine in health care, including oral health;

  • prevent consumers from paying prescription drug copays that exceed the price of the drug;

  • expand commercial coverage of mental health services for children and adolescents;

  • permit individuals to purchase and employers to offer MassHealth coverage.

"Additionally, we are pleased that the bill reauthorizes the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, and urge the Senate to approve funding for the program; and we strongly support increased transparency of prescription drug prices, and will be looking for ways to expand the required information under the bill. Working with advocates for seniors, we will also seek to include language to lower Medicare costs for low-income elderly residents of Massachusetts"