A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform

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 »

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 »

Does Governing Trump Campaigning? The Future of Health Reform in Massachusetts

The election of Donald Trump, running on a platform of complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, puts at risk the coverage of some 22 million people who rely on the law for their health insurance. Patients who depend on the law for their coverage are fearing the worst. 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 »

Six States Join Massachusetts in the Under 5% Uninsured Club

The Gallup Poll does big national surveys asking people if they have health insurance. It's not as rigorous as our state surveys, but it's more frequent and provides a good snapshot that allows one to compare states. Their latest results for the first half of 2015 were released this week. Nationwide, the uninsured rate fell from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent through the first half of this year. Here's the amazing bottom line: Through the first half of 2015, there are now seven states with uninsured rates that are at or below 5%: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa,... Read more »

Court Looks To Massachusetts As It Upholds The Affordable Care Act

Today's 6-3 Supreme Court decision has Massachusetts health reform written all over it, right up front. After describing past failures to effectively reform health care coverage policy, Chief Justice Roberts turns to us, on pages 3-4 of the opinion: We couldn't be prouder of the role Massachusetts has played in the formulation, passage and implementation of the ACA. We were the incubator of the ideas, the test bed for the policy, and, of course, our delegation, led by Senator Kennedy, was crucial in the law's passage. Now our success is pivotal to upholding the law, establishing it as part... 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 »

CHIA Reports on ACA: "Massachusetts is growing closer to near-universal coverage."

CHIA, the state's Center for Health Information and Analysis, just released their latest report totaling all enrollment in insurance coverage in Massachusetts. This is the first report that looks at the impact of the ACA coverage expansions here, which started on January 1, 2014. The breathtaking bottom line: The ACA has dramatically expanded health coverage in Massachusetts. In just the 3 months between December 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014, total coverage increased by more than 215,000 people, or around 3.9%. CHIA's conclusion: Read more »

Bleak: the House Bill to Repeal the ACA could result in 445,000 uninsured in Massachusetts

This is devastating: A new study estimates that the House-passed bill to repeal the ACA would result in as many as 445,000 people in Massachusetts losing health care coverage. The uninsurance rate, now around 2.8%, would soar to 10.3%. To keep these people covered would the cost state $7.8 billion between 2017 and 2026. The study comes from the Urban Institute, and was commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, which is the co-convenor, along with HCFA, of the state's Coalition for Coverage and Care. You can read the press summary here, and get the full package of... Read more »

Governor Baker Takes Strong Stand for Health Care

(Photo Credit: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker) Governor Charlie Baker sent a strong letter to U.S. Senate leaders today, calling on them to reject the House-passed American Health Care Act, and defending Massachusetts' progress on health coverage made possible by the ACA - or Obamacare. Read more »

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