(Boston, MA)- Statement from Health Care For All’s Executive Director Amy Rosenthal regarding the state budget proposal released by the House Ways and Means Committee for FY2020:
“Health Care For All (HCFA) thanks Chairman Michlewitz and the House Committee on Ways and Means for proposing an FY2020 state budget that promotes access to health coverage and care in the Commonwealth.
“Prescription drugs are critical to cure disease and maintain health. However, prescription drug prices continue to rise rapidly, with MassHealth pharmacy spending doubling over the past five years. We are pleased the House Ways and Means Committee extended MassHealth’s authority to provide greater leverage in negotiating lower drug prices. We commend the Committee for establishing tools for stronger price negotiations, and we are eager to work with the legislature to ensure enforcement mechanisms, such as an upper payment limit, are enacted that both lower costs and protect consumers.
“In 2010, the Commonwealth significantly reduced oral health services for adult MassHealth members, maintaining coverage for only cleanings and extractions. Since then, coverage of essential services has been restored incrementally. We are thrilled to see the House Ways and Means FY2020 budget annualizes reinstatement of periodontal services, which are necessary to treat gum disease. Going forward, we strongly support restoration of coverage for services to repair injured or diseased teeth and ensure the MassHealth adult dental program offers comprehensive benefits necessary for optimal oral health.
“While Massachusetts has made great strides in expanding access to coverage and care, thousands of seniors struggle to afford their health care. Medicare provides a foundation for health security, but for far too many, the out-of-pocket costs and coverage gaps are severely burdensome. We applaud the House Committee on Ways and Means for including language to expand eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs, which provide help with Medicare costs to low-income seniors. This proposal represents a significant step in the right direction, and we urge the legislature to expand eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs even further to help more low-income seniors afford their health care.
“HCFA looks forward to collaborating with the legislature throughout the budget process to ensure that every resident in the Commonwealth has access to the health care services they need.”
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Health Care For All (HCFA) advocates for health justice in Massachusetts by working to promote health equity and ensure coverage and access for all. For more information about HCFA, visit our website at www.hcfama.org. You can also call our free HelpLine (800) 272-4232 if you need help applying for health insurance.