A Healthy Blog

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


Health Wonk Boot Camp Day 3

Day 3 of health wonk boot camp. The crowd is getting a bit thinner, but there's still lots of good discussion and learning. These hearings are accomplishing both of their goals. First, its providing a forum for getting in-depth data and analysis out into the public sphere. Just as importantly, it's building a shared set of understandings among health Today’s hearing focused on alternate payment methodologies and thinking creatively about the health care system in the 21st century. To see the reports, testimonies, or presentations from today, click here. Read more »

And now a word from our sponsor...

The fiscal year ends on June 30th - there are just two days left to help Health Care For All this year! Health Care For All (HCFA) needs your support to fully fund our HelpLine. Will you make a donation today? HCFA's fiscal year ends June 30, 2011 and we need your help to continue to reach and assist residents of Massachusetts. Here's how your gift helps: $100.00 allows a HelpLine counselor to intake and enroll one person in health coverage. $500.00 collects data and identifies areas and populations in the state that need health coverage improvements. Read more »

Give health care cost increases a time-out!

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"270","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] Remember our challenge issued in April (see video above)? The time has come.  On June 30th, from 12-1pm in front of the Statehouse, consumers from Health Care for All and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) are teaming up to tell insurers and providers that we are not willing to pay for the rising costs of health care any longer! For too long, consumers have been told how much they will pay in their skyrocketing premiums. ... Read more »

Stepping Toward Single Payer in the Green Mountain State

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin recently signed Act 48 which will put Vermont on the path towards a single payer health system, hoping to save Vermont $500 million per year in health costs. Blue Cross Blue Shield MA Foundation and The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum cosponsored an event this morning titled “Stepping Toward Single Payer: An Inside Look at Vermont” that focused on Vermont’s progressive legislation and how it will work to contain costs. Panel members included Anya Rader Wallack, Special Assistant to Gov. Peter Shumlin for Health Reform and President of Arrowhead Health... Read more »

Costs and Prices - It's All In The Report. Now - What Do We Do About It?

The latest health care cost trends report from DHCFP “Trends in Health Expenditures” looks at total health care spending for the private health plans (fully insured and self-insured), Medicare and MassHealth (which includes Commonwealth Care spending). The private health plan analysis is for 2007-2009 and the public analysis is for 2007-2008. Read more »

Public Health Hearing Focuses on Quality and Patient Safety

Health Care For All’s Consumer Health Quality Council (CHQC) testified on Tuesday at a Committee on Public Health hearing. Four members testified in person and three others submitted written testimony. They all urged legislators to pass bills that will strengthen the conversation between consumers and their health care providers and improve the quality of care we receive. Read more »

We're not just health care wonks, we're also hockey fans!

Last night the Bruins won the Stanley cup. Our boys got out there, with a two game deficit, and came back to clinch the title in a nail biting 4-3 series. How did they do it? Two ways: they focused on quality, not quantity. And they had great teamwork. And we're happy to hitch on to the Bruins victory to make our points about health policy. If you think about it (or maybe if you don’t think too hard about it), this is a lot like our health care system. Quality not Quantity. Yesterday, the Canucks outshot the Bruins 37 to 20. But even though the Canucks nearly doubled the Bruins on shots, the... Read more »

Quality and Cost Council Meeting Wednesday

The Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council is meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 1-3pm. 1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor. See the agenda here . Discussions are focusing on the My Health Care Options website and the DHCFP cost trends reports and hearings. -Deborah Wachenheim Read more »

Connector Board Discusses Wellness, Operating Budgets, and Exchange Planning

This morning, the Connector Board met to discuss four agenda items: Updates on the wellness initiative for Business Express, FY 2011 Administrative Budget and Audits, Voting on FY 2012 Administrative Budget Recommendation, and a vote on an exchange planning grant contract. Materials from the meeting are here. Small Business Wellness Program Scott Devonshire and Cathy Hoffman presented an update on the Connector’s small business wellness Initiative, which is required by Chapter 288 of the Acts of 2010. As of June 6th, new businesses signing up for Business Express may register for a Wellness... Read more »


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