Who Will Be in Charge at EOHHS and the Senate Steps Up to the Plate
This blog was the first to break the news (eee May 5 posting) that State Health & Human Services Secretary Ron Preston would be leaving his post in the summer. Now we're the first (as far as I've seen) to report that his acting replacement will be current Undersecretary Steve Kadish. This is good news. Kadish is smart, talented, and respected. He's taking over at a critical time for state health reform and the reorganization of the EOHHS. It would be good news if he were the permanent replacement -- and I hope that doesn't jinx him.
Meanwhile, Senate Ways and Means released their FY06 budget plan today and did a solid and commendable job on key health issues, including:
* Full funding for MassHealth HIV, Breast and Cervical Cancer, and Insurance Partnership;
* Funding to allow 26,000 more enrollees in MassHealth, icnouding 10,000 more in MassHealth Essential for very low income long term unemployed persons;
* Full restoration for 3,500 senior and disabled legal immigrants;
* Full funding (and affordable premiums) for Children's Medical Security Plan and Healthy Start;
* Restoration of smoking cessation and dental benefits for pregnant women and new moms (we will continue our push for full dental restoration for all 560,000 adults);
* Full funding for the hospital Uncompensated Care Pool;
* Full funding for Prescription Advantage including an open enrollment period.
Sincere thanks to Senate President Bob Travaglini and Ways and Means Chair Therese Murray for a great job!