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

Health Care Politics

9/30/07 Double Milestone II: SCHIP/CHIP and Bush’s Brain

Today is the final day of the first 10 years of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP – though House Democrats now insist it be called CHIP). Congress and the President have yet to agree on a new authorization – it’s being extended through mid-November by a continuing resolution, so hold the panic. So a few anniversary reflections. SCHIP was created in 1997 as part of a much larger bill, the Balanced Budget Act. In early ’97, “smart” people said there was no way a Republican Congress would create a new social program in a year of deficit reduction. They underestimated the... Read more »

Legislature Approves $9.5M for Distressed Hospitals

From today's State House News Service: Read more »

Putting the Presidential Candidates' Health Planks in Perspective

Today's New York Times editorial does the best job we've seen assessing all the health positions of the Democratic and Republican candidates and putting them in a useful perspective. There's reason to be hopeful, and there's reason for concern. Money graphs: All of the plans, both Republican and Democratic, fail to provide a plausible solution to the problem that has driven health care reform to the fore as a political issue: the inexorably rising costs that drive up insurance rates and force employers to cut back on coverage or charge higher premiums. All of the plans acknowledge the need... Read more »

EOHHS FY09 Budget Hearings

EOHHS Secretary Judy Ann Bigby will conduct two public hearings to hear the views of community members regarding the agencies under her purview. Wednesday, October 3, 2007 -- 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont St, Roxbury, MA -- Wednesday, October 3, 2007-- 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.Western New England College School of Law Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA -- Rivers Memorial Hall Thursday, October 4, 2007 -- 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester The hearings will tentatively be divided as follows: 10:00 to 11:00 Veterans, Elder Affairs, Soldiers’ Homes... Read more »

Hillary's Health Plan

So it's out, Hillary Clinton's plan to expand access to health insurance to cover nearly everyone. Key parts: 1. Require all residents to obtain health insurance; 2. Require large employers to contribute toward the cost of health insurance for employees and provide tax subsidies to small businesses to help cover the cost of coverage for workers; 3. Provide tax breaks to ensure that health insurance premium payments do not exceed a certain percentage of household income; 4. Mandate that health insurers cannot deny coverage to applicants because of pre-existing medical conditions; and 5. Allow... Read more »

Mrs. Clinton's Emerging Health Plan -- Looks like Edwards' and MA's

Today's Wall Street Journal (click here) gives the first look we've seen at Hilary Clinton's health coverage plan to be fully unveiled on Monday. Individual mandate, lower income subsidies, assessments on non-offering companies -- looks a lot like candidate John Edwards' effort earlier this year and resembles the Massachusetts health reform plan in many key respects. Mrs. Clinton's plan has been the most eagerly awaited because: a. she's the front runner; and b. folks want to know how her thinking has evolved since the 1993-94 health reform debacle. Here's an excerpt: Read more »

Arnold Defends His Health Plan to Republicans

Click here to read CA Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger's 9/7/07 speech to the CA Republican Party. Here's what he had to say about his health care plan: "The surveys show that a majority of our own party also wants us to work for comprehensive health care, not stand in its way. My proposal is not a European socialist plan. It's not a Canadian single payer plan that is driving Canadians across our border for health care. My plan is a good faith attempt at a market-based solution. Never in history has medicine ever been able to make such a difference in peoples' lives. And we will be on the losing end... Read more »

Confused about SCHIP -- NEJM Clarifies

This week's New England Journal of Medicine includes a well written overview of the battle over renewal of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), written by John Iglehart, NEJM's national correspondent and former editor of Health Affairs (click here). Good summary. Worth a read -- subscription NOT required. Thanks NEJM. How come JAMA's so stingy with their articles? Read more »

Never Overestimate the Intelligence of the American Public

Our humor category is growing by leaps and bounds. Kudos to Charley on the MTA at Blue Mass Group for catching this spicy tidbit from the Boston Globe's Primary Source political blog: Likely Republican voters were asked how familiar they were the healthcare plans of all their candidates, even including non-candidate Fred Thompson. The results? In Nevada 29 percent said they were familiar with Thompson's healthcare plan. In New Hampshire it was 15 percent, in Iowa 18 percent, in Florida it was 22 percent and in South Carolina had 24 percent with some idea about his plan. Huh? Read more »

Romney: “I Was Brainwashed in Massachusetts…”

In a stunning admission at a campaign health event in Florida today, Republican Presidential Candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said that he had been “brainwashed” while serving as governor and agreeing to a big government health expansion scheme. “Gosh, there was so much blue, so much blue, everywhere, my eyes kind of glazed over and I lost focus,” Romney said, referring to the Massachusetts health reform law known as Chapter 58 which has thus far expanded affordable health insurance coverage to about 175,000 formerly uninsured individuals, mostly through expanded... Read more »

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