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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Massachusetts Budget

Dental Therapists Provide the Oral Health Benefits Massachusetts Deserves

Oral health matters. Adequate oral health reduces emergency department utilization and enhances health equity. Knowing these benefits, Governor Baker included an amendment in the proposals he sent to the legislature in connection with his budget vetoes that authorizes dental therapists in Massachusetts, a proposal we strongly support. By allowing mid-level dental therapists (DTs) to deliver basic but critically necessary care, this amendment would increase access to dental coverage for underserved Massachusetts residents. Read more »

Contact Your Representative - HCFA's House Budget Amendments

The state House of Representatives released their draft budget this week. The budget funds the state's MassHealth and other health programs, and includes many provision supported by HCFA. Our friends at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute released an outstanding summary of the provisions affecting low income residents, including MassHealth and other health concerns. House budget debate starts on April 24. Read more »

HCFA's Budget Priorities - Fiscal Year 2017

The House-Senate conference committee on the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget held its first meeting last week to negotiate a final budget based on the House and Senate budgets passed in each branch. The new state fiscal year will begin on July 1. HCFA is pleased that each budget proposal includes a number of provisions that fund MassHealth and other key health programs, and advance consumer health interests. However, there are important differences between the two versions, and HCFA distributed the following statement to the legislative leadership indicating our priorities for the budget... Read more »

The ACA is Good For Massachusetts (Budget Impact Edition)

We've done a bunch of posts on the topic of the ACA is good for Massachusetts. The ACA does much more than just switch RomneyCare to ObamaCare. Under the ACA, we've been able to provide premium assistance for more people, allow children to remain on their parents' health coverage longer, eliminate limits on benefits, provide free preventive care, including contraception, in insurance plans, and improve drug coverage for seniors on Medicare. The ACA has improved care quality, funded community health centers, workforce development, community prevention and 52 patient-centered research projects... Read more »

House Debates Budget Amendments: Here's Our List of Priorities

The state House of Representatives began its budget debate yesterday, for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1. Over 1000 amendments have been filed (see the budget and amendments here). As usual in the House, the amendments are being considered in groupings by subject matter. The health care bundle is expected to come up tomorrow or Thursday. Tonight, a group of HCFA citizen activists will fan out across the State House, meeting with Representatives to discuss HCFA's priorities. Here's some of our top amendents for support in the budget - we urge you to contact your Representative today... Read more »

Is MassHealth Really Unsustainable?

Administration officials from the Governor on down have been repeating the mantra over the past few months - MassHealth is "unsustainable."  Last Monday, EOHHS held a big public input session, titled, "Creating a Sustainable MassHealth Program." Yes, MassHealth takes up a large portion of the state budget (but not as large as you think). And yes, MassHealth has seen spending increases over the years (but what part of the health care system hasn’t)? But, does that make the MassHealth program unsustainable? Let’s look more closely at the facts. Read more »

Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds

Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing. Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:   Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER REGARDING THE GOVERNOR'S FY 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL   Read more »

MassHealth is Critical, and a Bargain for the state

We hear over and over again criticism that MassHealth comprises 40% of the state budget. This ignores two key realities: 1. MassHealth provides critical health care to over a quarter of state’s population – very low income people with no other source of health care. The majority of expenses are to provide care to very sick people, particularly seniors and people with disabilities getting long-term care and support services. Seniors and people with disabilities account for 24% of the enrollees, but 56% of the spending. The 595,000 non-disabled children are just 16% of the spending (source). Read more »

Budget Now: Amendments being debated today

Yesterday, the full House began the FY 2018 budget deliberation process on Beacon Hill. As the amendment process moves forward, we at HCFA are working with lawmakers, advocates, providers, faith groups, consumers, and other health stakeholders to protect funding for consumer based health care programs in the state budget and to protect MassHealth and other critical pieces of the Commonwealth’s health infrastructure. [See our complete budget amendment fact sheet here] HCFA Supports: Read more »

Partnership in Peril: Federal Funding at Risk for States

Today, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a report highlighting the major federal funding sources received by the state to provide access to affordable health care, help children thrive, assist low-income families, and care for veterans. Read more »

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