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House Announces Committee Assignments

House Announces Committee Assignments

February 26, 2015

Today the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its committee chairs and members for the new legislative session. That big boom you just heard was the starting gun for the legislative process.

Among the new chairs is Boston Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, who will co-lead the Health Care Financing Committee. This committee considers all bills concerning MassHealth, the Health Connector, other program such as the Health Safety Net, and delivery system reforms. It also takes a second look at many health care-related bills first approved by other committees. It has been called the "super-committee" for health care. Rep. Sanchez will join his already announced Senate co-chair, Senator James Welch of Springfield.

Representative Sanchez has long been a good friend of HCFA and a strong advocate for strengthening access and affordability for Massachusetts health care consumers. We have worked with him on numerous issues, and he is sponsoring a bill we're supporting to reduce medical debt. He formerly was co-chair of the Public Health Committee, and has been a leader in many major health care issues over the past years. We're very pleased with his new role.

Representative Sanchez' move to Health Care Financing opens a House co-chair slot in the Public Health Committee. That position will be filled by Rep. Kate Hogan of Stow. She'll join Winchester Senator Jason Lewis as cochairs of that critical committee. Rep. Hogan is leading our efforts to protect confidentiality and medical privacy through a bill allowing patients to restrict access to Explanation of Benefit forms. Her co-chair Senator Lewis has a long history of leadership in public health, and Rep. Hogan will bring her strong background, and her long-standing interest in these issues to the work.

Another new House co-chair will be Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston, who will co-lead the Financial Services Committee, which oversees private health insurance. His Senate counterpart is Acton Senator James Eldridge. Both will be strong watchdogs for consumer interests in private coverage.

Other House co-chairs with jurisdiction over health care issues continuing in their posts include Boston Rep. Elizabeth Malia, who continues as co-chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, and Newton Rep. Kay Khan, who will continue as co-chair of the Children and Families Committee.

HCFA has a broad legislative agenda for this session. Committee chairs - you will be hearing from us and lots of others looking to continue our state's leadership on health care.

  - Brian Rosman