As the Legislature gears up to take another run at making comprehensive reforms to health care, lawmakers and health care executives on Tuesday pitched a variety of ideas they said would help to control the cost of care in Massachusetts.
Fed up with rising drug costs, a growing number of states are pursuing a novel idea: They want to treat the pharmaceutical industry like a utility and cap what they will pay for certain medicines.
In a Nutshell: The Boston-based nonprofit Health Care For All has been advocating for adequate health coverage for all Massachusetts residents since the mid-1980s. The organization has influenced health care policies on the state and national level. Today, it works with coalitions and policymakers to continually improve health care access in Massachusetts.
BOSTON — A federal plan to require immigrants to show they won't be a public burden would have a “chilling effect” on health care, housing and other public programs, state officials and advocates say.
The proposed changes would redefine how the government determines whether an immigrant is likely to need public assistance such as food stamps, housing and Medicaid.
Seven health, human services and community development officials from across the Baker administration went on record Monday against a proposed federal rule change that would restrict the ability of immigrants to obtain green cards if they receive public benefits including Medicaid or food stamps.
Massachusetts has long prided itself as having the smallest portion of children without health insurance of all the U.S. states. But now, it's been knocked off that top spot. According to a new report from Georgetown University, the number of uninsured children in Massachusetts is up for the first time in years. The report says that in 2017, 5,000 children were added to the rolls of the uninsured, bringing the total number to 20,000 children in Massachusetts without health insurance.
BOSTON — The number of children without health insurance is rising in Massachusetts for the first time in years, according to a report that blames divisive national politics for the reversal.
An estimated 20,000 children in the state didn't have health insurance in 2017, an increase of about 5,000 children from the prior year, according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. The surge knocked the state off its No. 1 ranking for the smallest portion of uninsured children.
BOSTON (WWLP) - Immigrant rights advocates gathered at the State House on Wednesday.
According to the "Protect Immigrant Families Movement," the Trump Administration is trying to pass a law that would block U.S. entry for immigrants who are likely to use assistance programs.
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition came to the State House Wednesday, to specify the number of migrant families that could be denied access if that policy were adopted.
Attorney General Maura Healey has signed off on a 13-hospital merger involving Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, which would create the state's second-largest hospital system.
Healey signed off on the merger after negotiating a number of conditions the new hospital network would have to meet, including price caps for several years and a prohibition on turning away new MassHealth patients.
By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 27, 2018.....As the federal government seeks a rule change that would restrict the ability of immigrants to obtain green cards if they receive public benefits, advocates for people with disabilities have joined the governor, immigrant rights groups and others in an attempt to stop what they view as a discriminatory policy.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joined a rally with immigrant advocates and city officials to oppose proposed changes to federal public charge policy on Oct. 15 at Faneuil Hall.
If passed, the change would penalize immigrants if they are receiving government benefits such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as food stamps, subsidies for subscription drugs and housing vouchers.
(NOTICIAS YA).- Ningún inmigrante debería escoger entre familia, salud o comida, esta es la principal razón por la que el alcalde de Boston Martin Walsh se reunió este lunes con defensores y activistas a favor de los inmigrantes.
Para el alcalde considerar a los inmigrantes una carga pública es un insulto para quienes día a día levantan esta nación.
BOSTON —The rally is a response to a proposal from the Trump Administration, which was touted as encouraging self-sufficiency but opponents said it's actually an attack on immigrants.
President Trump’s treatment of immigrants is an ongoing tragedy that shocks our conscience and betrays our values. Last week, he unleashed his latest attack.
La propuesta busca quitarle beneficios a la comunidad indocumentada y documentada, por lo que la comunidad inmigrante local se organizó para detener las nuevas medidas.
Damaris Velásquez llegó al País hace cerca de 28 años y fue indocumentada por 23, tiempo donde recibió servicio médico. “En ese trayecto de no tener documentos, es cuando uno más necesita apoyo y es donde está más vulnerable ante cualquier cosa” dice Velásquez.
Crean identificación para inmigrantes indocumentados
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, city councilors, and advocates on Monday ripped a Trump administration proposal to make it significantly harder for immigrants receiving certain public benefits to obtain green cards.
Walsh, speaking during a rally in the ornate Great Hall inside Faneuil Hall, called the administration’s proposed changes to the rules surrounding green card applications a “disgrace.”
El 22 de setiembre, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional anunció planes para cambiar drásticamente los términos bajo los cuales se prohíbe que ingresen al país u obtengan residencia legal (“green cards”) a las personas que probablemente dependerán de servicios de apoyo del gobierno.
La nueva propuesta ampliaría los factores que el gobierno usaría para considerar a alguien como un riesgo de convertirse en carga pública, que actualmente se limita a aquellos que probablemente necesiten ayuda en efectivo, definida como asistencia social o atención institucionalizada a largo plazo.
First in a series of occasional articles on how money affects patients and their care.
CAMDEN, Maine — In elegant rooms with sparkling views of Penobscot Bay, some of Harvard’s most skilled psychiatrists treat patients from across the United States — football players referred by the NFL, lawyers sent by their firms, a school janitor with a wealthy brother.
Four Massachusetts immigrant and health care advocacy groups urged communities on Sept. 25 to take actions on the proposed federal public charge policy that would penalize immigrants if they are receiving government benefits such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as food stamps, subsidies for subscription drugs and housing vouchers.
Health Care For All (HCFA) executive director Amy Rosenthal said “the proposed rule is still under review; there is no need to disenroll from any of the social benefits now.”
BOSTON -- The Baker administration will "formally oppose" a proposed federal rule change that would restrict the ability of immigrants to obtain green cards if they receive public benefits including Medicaid or food stamps, a spokesman for the governor said Monday.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the move on Saturday, saying it would ensure individuals seeking to enter and stay in the country "can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits."
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker and his reelection challenger, Jay Gonzalez, are both former health care executives who have spent years working to expand access to affordable treatment and reduce costs.
But the two have vastly different visions for the direction of coverage in Massachusetts, which has long been a leader in setting health care policy.
The state made headway in controlling health care spending last year, according to a report released Wednesday.
Total health spending in Massachusetts increased 1.6 percent in 2017 — the lowest level of growth in five years — even as costs remain a burden for many consumers.
Spending on health care totaled $61.1 billion, or $8,907 per person, according to the report from the Center for Health Information and Analysis, a state agency. That was within a state-mandated target for controlling costs.
The cost of health care in Massachusetts continues to rise, but at a pace significantly below expectations.
The state Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) finds health care spending grew 1.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, with costs totaling $61.1 billion. That's about $8,900 per resident.
2017 was the second consecutive year that overall growth came in below the 3.6 percent benchmark set by the Health Policy Commission.
The Massachusetts economy, by many measures, is humming: low unemployment, a sizzling real estate market, incomes that are among the highest in the country.
But a broad and detailed survey to be released Thursday shows that the state trailed the rest of the nation in 2017 when it comes to middle-class income growth, poverty reduction, and the expansion of health insurance coverage.
With time running out again on comprehensive sex education legislation, Rep. James O'Day says he's trying to convince his House colleagues that the bill is not about encouraging young people to be sexually active.
"There are some of my colleagues who are still skittish about this issue," O'Day, a West Boylston Democrat, said at a rally Tuesday. "It blows my mind. But it is what it is."
Massachusetts businesses, looking to cut their health care costs, are teaming up on a new initiative aimed at sharply cutting the number of people who seek care in hospital emergency rooms when they could be treated elsewhere.
Employer groups representing thousands of businesses across the state said Wednesday that they plan to reduce avoidable emergency room visits by 20 percent over the next two years, saving $100 million.
The Trump administration has rejected a request from Massachusetts to choose drugs covered by the state's Medicaid program based on cost and how well they work. The stated problem, spelled out in a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was that Massachusetts planned to keep collecting pharmaceutical rebates while excluding some drugs.
The federal government denied a request by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's administration to allow MassHealth not to cover certain drugs.
"While it is disappointing that our request to more effectively control rising pharmacy costs was not approved at this time, we remain committed to finding more innovative state-based solutions to reduce the growth in drug spending while maintaining access to necessary medications," said Massachusetts Health and Human Services spokeswoman Elissa Snook.
Federal officials have rejected proposals from Governor Charlie Baker’s administration to slash costs in the Massachusetts Medicaid program by limiting coverage for some prescription drugs and moving thousands of people off the program.
The Washington-based Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, said Wednesday that Massachusetts’ request did not meet the agency’s requirements for such changes.
The decision dealt a setback to Baker as he seeks to curb the rising costs of health care in the state budget.
Christopher Anderson’s op-ed on the state’s economy comments that “the devil’s in the details” when discussing the challenge that MassHealth, among other big budget items, presents to an otherwise strong state economy. Interesting how Anderson is then selective in the details he talks about for MassHealth. Here’s the devil to his argument: Approximately 50 percent of the MassHealth budget he’s concerned about is reimbursed by the federal government — the state’s actual obligation is half of what’s alleged, something Anderson overlooked.
Health Care For All at timestamp 2:20
Health Care For All at timestamp 65:30
Advocates call for closer integration of dental care with other forms of health care at clinics. Interview for BNN News with Dr. Neetu Sing of Health Care For All and Shannon Wells of the Mass. League of Community Health Centers. Aired August 30, 2017.
“The cost-sharing reduction payments are critical for keeping coverage affordable for people buying individual coverage for themselves and their families,” said Brian Rosman, policy director at Health Care For All, a Boston nonprofit. “We know that uninsurance would increase in Massachusetts if the payments are not made.”
Neetu Singh, a dentist and oral health project manager for Health Care For All, said she is concerned that under Baker's proposal people will lose dental benefits and thereby lose access to oral health care. Singh said most of the people losing dental coverage will be unable to afford standalone plans and will "likely forego treatment."
The advocacy group Health Care for All praised some elements of Baker’s plan but said it “deplore[d] the call to block people from affordable MassHealth plans.”
Proposal would cap cost of prescription drugs in state (Boston Globe)
* Read the Boston Globe story here.
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