A Healthy Blog

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

Some More Holiday Reading (non-comic book edition)

Some More Holiday Reading (non-comic book edition)

December 25, 2011

For the quiet week coming up, the Blue Cross Foundation and Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released some good wonkness to read and learn from. We're so fortunate as a policy community to have these institutions supplying high-quality materials to further the conversation:

  1. Improving MassHealth: The Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released Innovations in Medicaid: Considerations for MassHealth (pdf). The paper looks at cutting-edge Medicaid strategies to improve on the delivery of care and optimize value for the state. Among the opportunities reviewed are aligning purchasing with other state agencies, and structuring contracts to reward outcomes. One suggestion we particularly endorse is engaging stakeholders around member materials and outreach methods. For years we've had ready to go suggestions for improving the complex, easy to ignore and misunderstand mailings received by MassHealth recipients, but our proposals have languished.
  2. Risk Adjustment in Exchanges: I know, risk adjustment is the most eye-rolling topic in all health policy wonkdom. For years, I've always gotten a laugh telling people that HCFA used to march under the banner of "Health Insurance for Everyone," and now our slogan is "Risk Adjustment Must Go Beyond Actuarial Factors And Include Socio-Economic Considerations." But this is important stuff, and the Foundation's latest entry in their Health Reform Toolkit series, Mitigating Risk in a State Health Insurance Exchange, should be required reading for exchange planning people in other states. It's also a good review for Massachusetts folks, reminding us how the Connector uses a number of techniques to make their insurance market more fair and efficient.

Happy reading!
-Brian Rosman