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

Health Hearings Next Wednesday at State House (from State House News)

Health Hearings Next Wednesday at State House (from State House News)

July 2, 2005

Legislation to expand family planning services to more low-income residents is before the Health Care Financing Committee next Wednesday. The proposal (H4178) would direct state health officials to seek a federal Medicaid waiver to pay for services like medical and gynecological exams, screening for breast and cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, and education and counseling about contraception. The waiver, in place in 21 other states, would reimburse the state 90 percent. The proposal was included in the Legislature's fiscal 2005 budget and vetoed by Romney.

Members will hear other Medicaid-related bills including proposals to restore adult dental coverage, require MassHealth to pay for smoking cessation programs, remove enrollment caps. In 2002, the state eliminated dental coverage for 560,000 adults in MassHealth . The committee will be asked to support legislation restoring that benefit at a cost of $29 million. Romney vetoed a provision in the fiscal 2006 budget to restore dental coverage for women with children under 3 who are enrolled in MassHealth. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Kathleen Teahan. (Wednesday, 10 am, Room A-2)