A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

How's Your Insurer's Price Transparency Tool? Take the Survey.

  Imagine shopping where you can't see the price tag.  Would you buy something with a credit card if you didn't know the cost until your bill arrived?  That's exactly what often happens when you "buy" a health care service.  Massachusetts law allows you to see the price tags of different health care providers - before you choose them to provide your health care service. Your health insurance company must have an online cost estimator that you can use to find out in advance what you will have to pay for your health care service.  Health Care For All wants to make sure that these cost... Read more »


With the new legislative session comes a host of new legislative ideas. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here. The proposed legislation include the following proposals: Read more »

Thank You, Governor Patrick

It started long before he was even Governor, when he was just one of a number of long-shot candidates. In the fall of 2005, Deval Patrick endorsed our long-shot health reform proposal, calling it “a credible, achievable means to bring immediate progress.” Over and over, he declared that health care was a public good. Our bill was merged with ideas from Governor Romney, Speaker DiMasi, and many others, but it was eventually became Chapter 58. The law passed in April 2006, just months before the November election. So implementation largely fell to Governor Patrick. Barely a week after being... Read more »

HPC: Yes, Glass Half Full/Half Empty. But Costs Under Control, For Now

Today the Health Policy Commission held a lengthy, end-of-year meeting (meeting slide deck here) summing up the year and discussing a wide variety of topics, including a year-end summary of the work of the Office of Patient Protection and updates on the medical home and ACO standard process. It was also announced that the first meeting of the "Essential Services Task Force," made up of state officials and charged with looking at the issues of hospital and service closures, will occur on December 18.   Read more »

Study: Consumer Debt Affects Health. HCFA Proposes Policy Help

HCFA was proud to participate today in a State House briefing on new research detailing how consumer debt prevents low-income Massachusetts residents from achieving economic independence. Read more »

Thanks, Senator Moore

In January, Massachusetts Senator Richard Moore, one of the strongest and most expert health care leaders in the Legislature, will be leaving the State House.  Read more »

Health Wonk Boot Camp (aka Cost Trends Hearing) Update - In Tweets!

Monday was Day One of the Health Policy Commission's 2-day Cost Trends Hearing, long dubbed "Health Wonk Boot Camp," by, well, us, back when it was 4 days long. This year's festival is being held at a packed - standing room only, literally - Suffolk Law School. But for those who can't grab a seat, you can now watch online, through a live streaming feed. The live feed can be accessed Tuesday, starting at 9:00 am, on the HPC's home page, mass.gov/hpc. We particularly encourage you to tune in or attend live on Tuesday morning, because at around 10:30, HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer... Read more »

HCFA Submits Comments to Court on Partners Deal

HCFA has submitted detailed comments to the state court reviewing the proposed settlement agreement concerning the acqusition by Partners HealthCare of hospitals and physician practices north and south of Boston.  Our comments start from the premise that the settlement ought to be considered as a question of public policy, and not just a legal issue: The provision of health care services is not treated as an ordinary, private commodity by the public or the Commonwealth. Health care is an intensely public good.  Read more »

HPC Goes Deep Into Partners Acquistion

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) met on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 with a packed agenda covering topics such as the upcoming Cost Trends Hearings, their Final Report on the Partners proposed acquisition of Hallmark Health, new legislation affecting the HPC, and the CHART Investment Program. The detailed meeting slides are online and and takes just a click below to find our summary of the highlights and discussion points. Read more »


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