Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds
Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing.
Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:
Statement from Health Care For All's
Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER
BOSTON -- "Health Care For All welcomes Governor Baker's budget proposal. In his budget, the Governor maintains the Commonwealth's long-standing commitment to providing access to affordable health care, and we look forward to the proposal's consideration in the coming weeks as it moves to the legislature.
"We are particularly pleased that the budget extends this year's decision to restore MassHealth coverage for full dentures. We continue to call on the legislature to restore full dental benefits for adult MassHealth members. Many benefits were cut in 2010, and only some have been restored so far. Having access to comprehensive oral health is important for everyone and is particularly critical for pregnant women, diabetics, and people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases who are vulnerable to serious dental complications.
"The budget also expands services available to children with autism. This long-overdue coverage will allow families to receive the comprehensive services necessary for an improved quality of life. We applaud the Governor for this investment.
"The Governor's budget assumes significant savings based on the re-evaluation of every MassHealth member's eligibility. Health Care For All will work diligently to ensure that the redetermination process is fair and responsive to the needs of the over one million people who rely on MassHealth for their health care.
"We are encouraged by the initiatives put forth by the Baker administration that address some of the key social determinants of health by investing in economic self-sufficiency. Doubling the funding dedicated to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and initiatives that provide more permanent housing options are critical tools that promote stability for hard-working families. These programs represent the foundation of health vitality and long-term economic opportunity."