A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

MCC: Things to Know for January 2009

Following Tuesday’s MCC hearing, WCVB Channel 5 ran a story on the requirement (as of January 1, 2009) that individuals purchase prescription drug coverage in order to meet the individual mandate. Health reform has done a wonderful job of increasing access for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents. Simply having insurance coverage, however, does not mean that you will have access to quality health care. The MCC regulations establish standards for health plans that protect consumer choice by ensuring access to quality coverage that covers all basic health care needs, including... Read more »

Prioritizing Primary Care

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reinforces the impending primary care shortage facing the U.S. physician workforce. Based on a survey of 1177 fourth-year medical students at 11 US medical schools, the analysis showed that only 23% of respondents planned to practice internal medicine with just 2% planning to practice general internal medicine. Researchers found a number of factors that influenced student’s reluctance to go into the field, including the demands of caring for an aging and chronically ill population coupled with increased burden of... Read more »

Consumers, Employers and Insurers Weigh In at MCC Hearing

The Connector held a hearing on revisions to the Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) regulations yesterday. The regulations determine coverage standards for health plans Massachusetts residents must have to comply with the individual mandate. Board members Lou Malzone, Celia Wcislo, Rick Lord, Dolores Mitchell, and Nancy Turnbull, Connector Executive Director Jon Kingsdale, and Connector General Counsel Jamie Katz heard comments about the proposed regulations from consumers and consumer advocates as well as insurers and employers. Read more »

The Truth, The Whole Truth: Calling Out The Mandated Benefits Fallacy

Can't they read? Or are they deliberately lying? Once again someone is publishing an article misstating the findings of DHCFP's landmark study on mandated health insurance benefits. Here's what Health Care News, published by the conservative Heartland Institute is claiming: "Rising health insurance costs in Massachusetts, where possession of insurance is required by state law, are in large part attributable to onerous mandatory minimum coverages the state government requires in every policy sold in the state, a new state government study shows. "An assessment conducted by the Massachusetts... Read more »

Quality and Cost Council Meeting Schedule and Membership Changes Under Chapter 305

The Quality and Cost Council announced its regular meeting schedule for FY 2009. All meetings take place at 1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor. * Full Council Meetings: 3rd Wed. of every month, 1:00-4:00 PM * Advisory Committee Meeting: September 24, 3:00-4:30 PM (others TBD) * Communications and Transparency Committee: 1st Wed. of every month, 3:15-4:45 PM * Patient Safety Committee: September 8, 3:30-5:00 and then 1st Wed. of every other month starting with October 1, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM * End of Life & Chronic Care Committees: 1st Wed. of every other month starting... Read more »

Paradigm Shift Coming -- Will MA take a lead role?

A post in an well-read national blog says a fundamental shift in health care is afoot: A Primary Care Paradigm Shift Something profound is happening in buyers’ and the public’s attitudes towards primary care and the health system. With inexorable rises in costs and corresponding decreases in access to primary care doctors, buyers and the public are mad as hell, and they’re deciding they’re not going to take it anymore. Something is badly and sadly wrong, and corrective measures are being put in place. Read more »

Breaking News: Gov Signs Health Cost/Quality Bill, Including Drug Marketing Reforms

This afternoon, Governor Patrick signed into law the comprehensive health care cost and quality legislation (press release). This follows Thursday's signing of the supplemental appropriations bill, which included the revenue measures to meet the MassHealth and Commonwealth Care funding gaps for this fiscal year. Read more »

Truth in advertising? Not for BIO

For an industry that regularly tops the charts on profit margins, we weren’t surprised to see the full page ad in the Boston Globe today, signed by Biotechnology Industry Association, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Massachusetts High Technology Council, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, and the PhRMA itself. To be honest, we were sort of surprised that they didn’t underwrite an entire special edition of the Globe. Read more »

Launch of the Quality and Cost Council Web-site – October?

Charlie Baker on his blog today writes about a recent story in the Boston Business Journal about the delays incurred by the MA Health Care Quality and Cost Council (HCQCC). He lists the difficulties of getting the web-site launched. Just last week, the legislature passed a landmark cost containment and quality health care bill. The bill includes a provision that healthcare-associated infections and serious reportable events be made public on the HCQCC’s website. HCFA and its Consumer Health Quality Council hope that the HCQCC’s web-site is launched soon, so that this data will be available... Read more »

ONE LAST PUSH!

Last week the Legislature passed S.2863, An Act to Promote Cost Containment, Transparency and Efficiency in the Delivery of Quality Health Care. This omnibus bill contains many commendable provisions, including sections which promote payment reform, create efficiencies in the health care system, and improve access to health care services. One more action is needed!! Contact Gov. Patrick today and ask for his support of S.2863. Click here to email the Governor and thank him for his continued leadership on the successful implementation of health reform and encourage him to sign S.2863 into... Read more »

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