A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

Commence Phase Four

At around 10:30 Monday night, the legislative leadership released the text of their bill called "payment reform" for short in the State House, but majestically formally titled "An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency, and Innovation" (read the bill text here, and download the legislature's 4-page summary here (both pdf)). Read more »

T-Minus 1 Week: Payment Reform and Prescription Abuse Bills Waiting Action

With one week to go and around 4 formal session left in the legislative cycle, it's not yet time to haul out The Final Countdown. But it's getting close. Two key bills await action - the comprehensive delivery system reform proposal, usually called "payment reform" for short, and an important bill to curb prescription drug abuse. Payment Reform: Experts Say Consider Data and Policy Options on Employer Fair Share. Will Legislators Act Anyway? The payment reform bill is still being considered by the House-Senate conference Committee. We hear the conferees are "making progress." But we don't... Read more »

T-Minus 2 Weeks For Payment Reform

A week ago we reminded our readers that just three weeks remained in the legislative session, with the comprehensive health delivery system reform and cost control bill hanging out in the conference committee. Well now there's just 2 weeks left. So we were dismayed yesterday to read in a Boston Globe editorial that “a conference committee is reportedly making little headway on resolving critical differences and arriving at compromise legislation.” Read more »

T-Minus 3 Weeks: All Eyes On Payment Reform Conference Committee. Here's Some Of Our Priorities.

Today marks three weeks until the final day of formal legislative sessions, July 31 of even-numbered years. On July 31, 2010, the legislature enacted a major health care bill. On July 31, 2008, the legislature enacted a major health reform bill (actually, that wasn't passed until a few minutes after midnight on August 1). See the pattern? Read more »

Health Wonk Boot Camp Report – Rolling out Payment Reform

This week, the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP) held its annual public hearing on health care cost trends , or as we endearingly call it -- health wonk boot camp, at Bunker Hill Community College. This year’s edition was way less wonky than in the past, and much more focused on what’s happening now in our health care delivery system. Discussion outlined the challenges of implementing reforms and transitioning from the current fee-for-service payment structure to an integrated global payments model. The hearings were also less crowded than in the past, as most of the usual... Read more »

Houses Passes Payment Reform Bill

In under 9 hours, the House went through the 275 amendments filed to the its payment reform bill, and approved the bill last night on a 148-7 vote. HCFA congratulates the Speaker, Health Care Financing Chair Rep. Steve Walsh, and other House members who worked hard to bring a landmark bill through the House. The House did not take up the closing of the tax loophole for other tobacco products (smokeless tobacco and little cigars), or the extension of the sales tax to sugary soda. But it did agree to allocate $20 million to the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. Both the House and Senate bills... Read more »

Some More Good Ideas In The House Payment Reform Amendment Pile

The House begins its debate on H. 4127, its revised payment reform proposal, on Tuesday afternoon. The Reps will go through the 275 amendments filed on the bill (see them all here). In our last post, we highlighted some amendments filed with the support of the Campaign For Better Care. We've looked through the whole list, and singled some other important amendments we urge House members to support. There's a lot of good ones in the pile, but here are some of them we picked out, in amendment number order: Read more »

It's That Time Again: Health Wonk Boot Camp Starts Monday

Start your wonk engines. The 2012 Health Care Cost Trends Public Hearing starts up Monday morning June 4, and goes through Wednesday morning. The hearings starting at 9:30 AM each day, at Bunker Hill Community College, in the Auditorium (Room A300). The annual health-policy-fest will be overshadowed this year by the action in the State House, where the House of Representatives will start on Tuesday considering the 275 amendments filed to the payment and delivery system reform bill (see links to the bill and the amendments here). Here's the detailed agenda for the 3 days: Agenda for Cost... Read more »

Senate Update - Rx Issue Pending in Budget; Payment Reform Bill Amendments Posted

This morning the Senate will reconvene at 9 am to finish up its work on the FY 2013 budget. Last night the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Chandler to begin the process of restoring some of the dental benefits that were eliminated for  adults in MassHealth. We're grateful to Senators for understanding the critical role dental care plays in overall health. Read more »

Senate Begins Payment Reform Debate - Some More Amendments To Watch

This afternoon the Senate begins its debate on comprehensive health payment and delivery system reform. Over the weekend, we blogged on a dozen amendments supported by Health Care For All and the Campaign For Better Care. There's lots of other interesting amendments among the 265 filed to the bill. Here are some we picked out, roughly in order of amendment number. Read more »

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