Legislating the Way Forward

February 2016 Newsletter...

Because of Health Care For All's focused efforts, four priority HCFA bills have moved closer to becoming law - laws that in turn will move Massachusetts closer to a health care system that works for everyone.

The HHH ("Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children") Bill promotes the well-being of children from three angles: housing, hunger and health. The Patient Confidentiality Bill would require insurers to send Explanations of Benefits (EOBs) to the patient if requested (instead of to the policy holder), allowing the patient to keep personal matters (like those of reproductive/sexual health, mental health, substance abuse, or sexual assault) private. The Health Equity Bill would create an Office of Health Equity, which would work to address racial and ethnic health disparities. The Dental Hygiene Practitioner Bill would allow dentists and safety net clinics to hire dental hygiene practitioners, meaning more dental providers who can deliver cost-effective care to those who need it most.

Additionally, Governor Baker released his FY 2017 proposed state budget, and HCFA responded. HCFA praised the Governor for investing in many critical health-related programs. We expressed concerns regarding plans to lock MassHealth members into a specific managed care plan for twelve months, to restrict benefits for some in MassHealth in order to push members into managed care plans, and to cut eligibility for the Health Safety Net program.

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