The Massachusetts Senate recently approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) state budget. The Senate version and the House version must now be reconciled through negotiation between the two chambers. Health Care For All (HCFA) has a number of budget priorities related to health care that have made it this far and should continue on to the final budget.
To find HCFA’s full FY19 Conference Committee letter with detailed explanations of our positions, please click here. You can find summaries of each budget priority that HCFA supports below:
- Restore Coverage for Periodontal Care For Adults on MassHealth
We urge the Conference Committee to direct MassHealth to reinstate coverage for periodontic services for adult MassHealth enrollees so that they are able to get the appropriate care that they need to maintain good oral, and overall, health.
- Establish a strong Office of Health Equity within EOHHS, and provide funds for the Office’s operation
We urge the Conference Committee to include Section 7 and line item 4000-0009 of the House budget, which would establish and fund an Office of Health Equity to reduce the serious racial and ethnic health disparities that exist in Massachusetts.
- Provide expanded authority to MassHealth to negotiate for fair prescription drug prices
We urge the Conference Committee to include authority for MassHealth to seek supplemental prescription drug rebates, and require pharmaceutical pricing information from manufacturers if reasonable rebates are not provided to MassHealth. The provision should also allow EOHHS to assess penalties on manufacturers who refuse to provide the required information, or who do not offer fair rebate amounts to MassHealth.
- Direct MassHealth to provide information on ACO outcomes and activities addressing social determinants of health
We urge the Conference Committee to include language in the MassHealth line item (4000-0500) directing MassHealth to provide information on ACO outcomes and performance, particularly data on ACO activities addressing the social determinants of health.
- Fund critical children’s mental health programs
We urge the Conference Committee to fund the MHAP for Kids program at $50,000 (within line item 4800-0200).
We urge the Conference Committee provide level-funding for Return to School “Bridge” Programs at $250,000 (within the School Health Services line item 4590-0250).
- Preserve Sunset on Prescription Drug Marketing Coupons on Rebates
We urge the Conference Committee to maintain the state’s prohibition on drug industry marketing “coupons” by 2019 and direct the Health Policy Commission to engage in a substantive study of the long-term costs and benefits of drug coupons on the Massachusetts health care market.
- Provide Unbiased Information about the Cost and Efficacy of Prescription Drugs
We urge the Conference Committee to provide funding for Health Policy Commission to operate the Academic Detailing program (line item 1450-1266 of the Senate budget) at $150,000.
- Require data collection on pediatric continuous skilled nursing services
We urge the Conference Committee to include Section 16 of the Senate budget, which directs the Center for Health Information and Analysis and MassHealth to regularly report data about pediatric patients requiring Continuous Skilled Nursing services.
- Fund pediatric palliative care programs
We urge the Conference Committee to fund Pediatric Palliative Care Programs (4590-1503) at $3,816,053, to ensure that all children and families who need these services can get them.
- Adequately fund DPH’s Office of Oral Health and the successful ForsythKids Program
We urge the Conference Committee adequately fund the general operations of DPH’s Office of Oral Health, and continue to earmark $300,000 for the ForsythKids program (line item 4512-0500).
Each of these provisions serve important purposes in supporting health care in Massachusetts. As always, HCFA is committed to advocating for affordable and quality health care coverage. All ten of these proposals do just that.
-Brian Rosman and Davis Jackson