A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

Breaking: Procedural Progress on Payment Reform - Senate Debate Expected Mid-May (UPDATE From Sen. Moore)

Today the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing discharged the Governor's payment reform bill, and the bill was assigned to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. This is the procedural step for the Senate to go first on its version of payment reform. From State House News: Fourteen months after Gov. Deval Patrick filed a proposal on the issue, Senate President Therese Murray said Wednesday she expects the Senate to take action in mid-May on a bill making major changes to the way health care is delivered and paid for in Massachusetts. Read more »

Globe Letters Look Towards Effective Payment Reform and Cost Control

Last week the Globe editorialized for a go-slow approach to a state regulatory role in payment reform. The editorial did recommend a number of our priorities, supporting "promoting accountable care, furthering transparency, highlighting effective practices, increasing consumer knowledge and incentives, and encouraging more competition among providers and between insurers." Today a trio of letters were published in the Globe calling for a comprehensive reform proposal, now. HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer made the case that major health care reform calls for significant government... Read more »

A Quartet of Opinions on Mass Payment Reform

Today Kaiser Health News published a quartet of opinion on payment reform in Massachusetts. The pieces are by Governor Patrick, HCFA's Paul Williams, Mass Hospital Association head Lynn Nicholas, and Dr. Lynda Young of the Mass Medical Society. The introduction states that the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans did not respond to invitations to comment. Read more »

Channel 5's Dr. Tim: Payment Reform May Be National Model

All this week Boston's channel 5 is doing a series tied to the 6th anniversary of Chapter 58, the Massachusetts health reform law. [By the way - Governor Patrick will be hosting a commemoration on Wednesday, April 11, at 12:30 p.m. at Faneuil Hall, where the health reform bill was signed into law 6 years ago] Read more »

Stay Healthy, My Friends - Join us Thursday at State House

The most interesting advocates in the world are gathering together at the State House to call for meaningful investment in public health and prevention as a part of payment reform. Civic leaders from around the state are coming and we’re proud of the legislators who are welcoming us to the State House: Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Jason Lewis, Chairs of the Prevention for Health Caucus; Sen. Susan Fargo and Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Health; and Rep. Stephen Kulik. Read more »

Payment Reform and Better Health - Conference Thursday

The MA Health Data Consortium is holding an event on Thursday, April 12, titled “Payment Reform: Achieving the Three-Part Aim?” Learn more on the MAHDC website. The three-part aim is the goals of better care for individuals, better health for populations, and reduced expenditures. This event will explore how payment reform can change the healthcare delivery system in order to achieve these three goals. Pre-registration is required. The program includes a discussion between Charlie Baker and Paul Levy, a presentation by Health Care Financing co-chair Rep. Steve Walsh, and a forum with MHA,... Read more »

Mayor Menino: Health care vs. sick care: Why prevention is essential to payment reform

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston Public Health Commission board chair Dr. Paula Johnson have long been stalwart champions of public health. In a new Boston Globe online op-ed, they lay out the case for substantial, sustained investment in prevention. The op-ed strongly endorses the Prevention and Cost Control Trust, and urges the legislature to include the program as part of the payment reform. Excerpts (emphasis added): Read more »

Meet Mary Flynn from Brewster

I want you all to meet Mary Flynn from Brewster, Massachusetts. Awhile back, she called our HelpLine because she was having problems with COBRA and needed health insurance. As the Supreme Court takes a closer look at Massachusetts’s health reform, folks across the nation want to know: has it worked? Mary is here to tell you: absolutely. Yesterday, she was highlighted in Bloomberg News because she was helped by Massachusett’s health reform law: Flynn, a public relations executive in Boston, left her job in February 2011 to start her own company. She signed up for COBRA health insurance from... Read more »

Boston Globe on Children's Hospital Boston Asthma Program: Two Implications for Legislation

Boston Globe graphic Yesterday's lead Kay Lazar story in the Globe, Children’s Hospital reports progress on asthma: Program cuts costs, trips to ER (paywalled, of course), is evidence of exactly why we need comprehensive reform of how health care is paid for in Massachusetts. Read more »

NPR: "If Massachusetts can do that, it might become a national model again"

NPR aired two stories over the last two days looking in depth at Massachusetts health care reform, and the prospects for cost control. The stories (audio and transcripts for both stories are here), by veteran NPR health report Richard Knox, are good summation of where we are, and where we're going in Massachusetts health policy. Read more »

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