A Healthy Blog

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

Children's Health

April is Medicaid Awareness Month!

In April, advocates across the country mark Medicaid Awareness Month and celebrate the program that provides health coverage to millions, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Here in the Bay State, approximately 1.8 million people depend on MassHealth – the Commonwealth’s combined Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – to access the health care they need. From birth and well-child visits to annual physicals, substance use disorder treatment and long-term care, Medicaid is a lifeline across the lifespan. Read more »

FY19 Health Care Budget Amendments Review

On April 23, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will begin voting on the state’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1 of this year. Representatives will consider 1400 amendment proposed by Representatives, including a number of important health-care related amendments. HCFA is supporting a number of amendments that will improve access to affordable and quality health care coverage; there are also some proposed amendments we oppose that would move us backwards. With debate in the House starting, it is crucial that your Representative knows how constituents feel about... Read more »

PATCH Act Signing Ceremony with Governor Baker!

Last week Health Care For All (HCFA) celebrated a tremendous victory along with the many organizations that make up the Protecting Access to Confidential Healthcare (PATCH) Alliance when Governor Baker signed into law the PATCH Act, which advances patient confidentiality protections. Alyssa Vangeli, HCFA’s Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations, has been leading the PATCH Alliance since its inception close to four years ago. The PATCH Alliance, a group composed of 40+ provider, advocacy and community based organizations, organized support for the bill along with the... Read more »

An Avoidable $2.4 Billion Cost: Studying health-related costs of hunger and food insecurity in Massachusetts

Last week, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) and Children’s HealthWatch released the first study of the health-related costs of hunger and food insecurity in Massachusetts. With one out of every 10 people in Massachusetts unable to afford enough food to lead an active, healthy life, An Avoidable $2.4 Billion Cost reveals exactly what its title says: the costs of debilitating health issues that are attributable to food insecurity are high…and avoidable. The study breaks down the correlation between hunger and debilitating health issues that are attributable to food insecurity and presents... Read more »

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): MA Taskforce Report Offers Path to Advancing Parent and Infant Health

This blog was originally published on Community Catalyst’s blog Health Policy Hub Read more »

MassHealth is Critical, and a Bargain for the state

We hear over and over again criticism that MassHealth comprises 40% of the state budget. This ignores two key realities: 1. MassHealth provides critical health care to over a quarter of state’s population – very low income people with no other source of health care. The majority of expenses are to provide care to very sick people, particularly seniors and people with disabilities getting long-term care and support services. Seniors and people with disabilities account for 24% of the enrollees, but 56% of the spending. The 595,000 non-disabled children are just 16% of the spending (source). Read more »

HCFA’s 2018-2019 Priority Legislation

With the launch of a new legislative session, we at HCFA are excited to announce a new legislative agenda that advocates for a more effective and consumer friendly health care system here in the Bay State. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. The proposed legislation includes the following proposals:   Read more »

MassHealth Drops Plan to Cut Benefits

Most MassHealth members have the option of either enrolling in a health plan (a Managed Care Organization or MCO) or the Primary Care Clinician Plan (PCCP). In efforts to move more members to managed care, MassHealth proposed in its 1115 waiver proposal to cut chiropractic services, eyeglasses, hearing aids, orthotics and potentially other benefits in the PCC Plan, while maintaining these benefits for members enrolled in MCOs. Read more »

HCFA Coalitions Submit Comments to Feds on MassHealth Redesign

MassHealth has pending before CMS - the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services - its proposal for a major redesign of its care delivery system. MassHealth is the state's Medicaid program, and covers nearly 1.9 million Bay Staters.  The proposal (read the submission and supporting materials here) calls for creating Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as a new choice for MassHealth members. An ACO is made up of primary care providers who team up to provide integrated, coordinated care, with the goal of both treating patients when they are sick, and keeping members healthy. They... Read more »

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