A Healthy Blog

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

MassHealth/Medicaid

The House voted to repeal the ACA but we can stop this in the Senate: Join Our Friends and Family Campaign!

The US House of Representatives just voted in favor of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The American Health Care Act will make massive cuts to Medicaid and rip up the insurance protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - but we're not giving up. Now the bill moves to the Senate, where we can still win this fight.  All Senators, regardless of their public position on AHCA, need to hear from their constituents now. In Massachusetts, we are fortunate that our Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren are firmly opposing this effort, but we can still play an important... 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 »

They Say Cut Back. We All Say Fight Back.

Tom Price tears a page from the health care bill during a press conference. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) Read more »

Blue Cross Foundation Study Looks at the Remaining Uninsured in Massachusetts

Last week, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the University of Massachusetts Medical School released a report entitled “The Remaining Uninsured in MA: Experiences of Individuals Living without Health Insurance Coverage” (read the report here). Massachusetts continues to have the lowest uninsured rate in the nation, with some 97% of residents covered. However, about 200,000 people of diverse age, race and employment status remain uninsured. The goal of this study was to figure out the reasons why people remained uninsured and help inform policy suggestions which would... Read more »

More Thoughts on the CHIA Report ("A blip, not a bloop")

The headline leads today's Globe's front page: Health care costs jump, a setback for Mass. There's no question that today's report from CHIA, with its topline finding of a 4.8% per capita growth in total health care spending in 2014, might lead to the perception that our progress in controlling health care cost growth has hit a bump. Certainly 4.8% exceeds the state's goal of holding spending growth to 3.6% or less. But digging into the report, there's a complex mix of good and bad news, and the report defies simplistic conclusions. So here are a few of our takeaways: Read more »

MassHealth Wants YOU! (to help them think about structure and payment reforms)

MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program, is dramatically ramping up its process for the public to contribute ideas for its restructuring and payment reforms. And you're invited to participate. During the spring, the agency held listening session forums throughout the state on a number of key issues. They plan to soon issue a summary of what they heard at those meetings. Now, the next step is for an open, participatory process to advise MassHealth on implementing major changes to the program. In their announcement, the agency set out a multi-level outline for input into their planning:... Read more »

Happy 50th Birthday Medicaid! Celebrate with a Massachusetts Medicaid Timeline

Happy Birthday, Medicaid and Medicare! Today is the 50th anniversary of the signing of Social Security Act of 1965 which created both programs. Massachusetts has had a particularly important role in influencing the evolution of Medicaid at the federal level and among the states. In honor of the day, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation created a spectacular interactive timeline to showcase major milestones in Medicaid history in Massachusetts .  Notably, many of the expansions and innovations of the past 30 years are the result of the advocacy legacy of HCFA.    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 »

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