A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

Consumers Groups Push for Strong Transparency Provisions in Health Care Bill

Health Care For All, along with MassPIRG, Health Law Advocates, Community Catalyst and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council recently wrote a letter on the issue of drug transparency to the conferees meeting to work out a final health care bill. We urged the Conference Committee to include strong transparency measures to help tackle the problem of skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Prescription drug costs are currently the fastest growing healthcare expense – by far. For both public and private plans, increases in pharmacy costs far outpace every other expense. Rising drug prices are... Read more »

HCFA Recommendations to Health Care Bill Conference Committee

With both the House and Senate having passed ambitious health care bills this session, now a joint House-Senate conference committee is hammering out the differences to reconcile the two bills for final passage. Health Care For All recently provided comments to the legislature on our recommendations for provisions  to reduce health care costs, protect consumers, and strengthen our state’s health care system. While Massachusetts has the highest insurance coverage rate in the country, there is still progress to be made to improve the quality and affordability of health care in the Commonwealth... Read more »

"We know first hand how drug costs are forcing residents to make choices that are not good for their health."

The legislature's Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a session last week in Springfield, looking at the impact of skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.  Among those speaking was HCFA Executive Director, Amy Whitcomb Slemmer. She brought real-life examples of the how high drug costs are hurting people in Massachusetts: Read more »

A Road Map to Better Health Care: HCFA Comments on ACOs

Last week Health Care For All submitted comprehensive recommendations to MassHealth regarding their development of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs represent a new way to pay for and organize health care delivery, by bringing together doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who work to give coordinated, high quality care to their patients.  Read more »

Consumers Share Personal Stories in Support of HCFA’s "No Copay" Bill

At Tuesday’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing public hearing, legislators heard testimony from advocates, consumers and health providers on a number of important bills, including three of HCFA’s priority bills: Read more »

More Thoughts on the CHIA Report ("A blip, not a bloop")

The headline leads today's Globe's front page: Health care costs jump, a setback for Mass. There's no question that today's report from CHIA, with its topline finding of a 4.8% per capita growth in total health care spending in 2014, might lead to the perception that our progress in controlling health care cost growth has hit a bump. Certainly 4.8% exceeds the state's goal of holding spending growth to 3.6% or less. But digging into the report, there's a complex mix of good and bad news, and the report defies simplistic conclusions. So here are a few of our takeaways: Read more »

New Report: Learn the Numbers and Meet the People Hurt by High Health Care Costs

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation just released a blockbuster report on the impact of high health costs on Massachusetts consumers. The stark conclusion should have strong policy implications: Read more »

Home Sweet Medical Home

A "Patient-Centered Medical Home" (PCMH) is not an institution or nursing home, but a primary care medical practice that offers coordinated, comprehensive care that is personal and focused on the patients' needs. PCMHs have the potential to both improve patient care and reduce costs. By engaging the patient at the center of his or her own care, a medical home can focus on improving overall health and wellness in partnership with the patient. At least that's the theory. But what practically is required of a medical home? Read more »

Breaking down barriers to care

One of the things we hear over and over is that people cannot afford their co-pays and deductibles. Momentum is building on legislation (H. 3976) to eliminate co-pays for some very high value treatments. Health Care For All activists and staff came together to lobby their state legislators on behalf of the “Barrier Free Care” Bill.  Fifteen activists plus HCFA staff members shared their stories and asked their legislators to work with committee members and leadership to make sure the bill gets passed.    Read more »

Massachusetts Study: Meal Programs Can Reduce Health Costs

  Good health for Massachusetts families is about more than access to traditional medical care. The social determinants of health (SDOH) – factors such as food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, transportation barriers, limited access to well-paying jobs, and exposure to violence – contribute to poor health outcomes, drive up health care costs, and create health inequities across race and income. Read more »

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