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

Health Care Politics

Romney Comes Out of His Closet on Health Care

We were thinking of putting his face on a milk carton, but Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney twice this past week defended the health reform law he signed in April 2006 while Massachusetts governor. The Nashua Telegraph reports on Romney's comments in debate and on the stump in New Hampshire: “Mine is the conservative, small government, personal responsibility plan,” Romney told The Telegraph on Wednesday afternoon, hours after he addressed more than 100 employees at Vectron International’s corporate headquarters on Lowell Road. Earlier in the day, the former Massachusetts... Read more »

An Engaging Conversation on the Individual Mandate

Lots of the conversation on the Individual Mandate embedded in the MA health reform law is pretty superficial and one-sided, pro or con. The American Prospect magazine's blog hosts an interesting discussion worth a look: First up is Ezra Klein who points out that Barack Obama's plan does not include an individual mandate, and speculates that it's due to the political riskiness of the idea: Read more »

WaPo Investigates Health Reform's Leading MIA -- Mitt Romney

Perceptive piece in Friday's Washington Post on how ex-MA Gov. and Repub. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the MA health reform law he signed last April -- click here. His new TV ads in NH and Iowa talking about his bountiful vetoes of Democratic spending priorities (does he mention nearly every one was overridden?), with no mention of the law he described in these terms, 367 days ago: "an achievement like this comes around once in a generation" Read more »

Two Strong EOHHS Appointments

EOHHS Sect. JudyAnn Bigby has made two first class appointments to key positions in her Secretariat. Dr. Jean Flatley McGuire will serve as Assistant Secretary for Disability Policies and Programs. Jean worked for years in the Department of Public Health as Director of the AIDS Bureau and did a fantastic job. Dr. McGuire will also serve as Interim Commissioner for the Department of Mental Retardation. Read more »

Charlie Baker Joins the Blogosphere

Apparently, Charlie Baker does not heed Nancy Turnbull, especially when she is haiku-ing: Months more of reform. So little time each day. Please, no new health blogs. Charlie Baker, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, former MA Sect. of Admin & Finance, former MA Sect. of Health & Human Services, former (and perhaps future) would-be candidate for Governor, has started his own blog: http://letstalkhealthcare.org/?pagename=blog I think this one is going to get noticed. Charlie speaks his mind, and whether one agrees or disagrees, it's usually pretty interesting. Welcome... Read more »

The New and Emerging Politics of National Health Reform

Check out this excellent New York Times Magazine story from last Sunday on the unusual alliance between Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Safeways Supermarket CEO Steve Burd that led to introduction of Wyden's national health insurance scheme earlier this year. Read more »

HCFA’s 4th Policy and Organizing Conference Highlights

Highlights from Friday's 4th annual HCFA Policy and Organizing Conference on Friday included keynote addresses from Gov. Deval Patrick, Sect. of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, Connector ED Jon Kingsdale and a motivating organizing panel. Attendees participated in workshops on policy issues led by HCFA staff and partners and explored tables hosted by players in MA healthcare. The day offered a great opportunity for 500+ attendees to learn more about amazing health policy initiatives across the state. Morning Keynote Addresses: Kingsdale and Bigby The day opened with Connector ED Jon... Read more »

Dems Debate/Discuss Health Care -- Does It Matter?

If you missed it, click here to access portions of Saturday's health care debate by the Democratic presidential candidates, sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union. Basically, every candidate endorses one form or another of universal coverage for all Americans during their first term. Hilary Clinton reiterated her stance yesterday: Read more »

Children's Mental Health Legislative Hearing -- May 7

A key challenge for the Legislature this year is to fix the awful situation for children's mental health care. A coalition of organizations, led by the Children's Health Access Coalition, has been working for over a year on legislation -- HB 1872/ SB 1133 -- to fix this problem area. Click here for bill summary, and fact sheet. Click here for the House bill text. Lead sponsors are Rep. Ruth Balser and Sen. Steve Tolman. The legislation will get a hearing before the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse on Monday, May 7 starting at 11am in Gardner Auditorium in the State House.... Read more »

Dem Pres Candidates to Debate Health Care This Saturday

Already? Yup. This Saturday, seven candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination will participate in a "Presidential Forum: New Leadership on Health Care" sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Service Employees International Union. You can watch it live via the web. The three front runners -- Clinton, Obama and Edwards have all endorsed universal health care, though only Edwards has released a detailed plan. Click here for the website if you want to watch this Saturday at 12:15pm (EST) from the University of Nevada. You've got nothing better to do, right? Read more »


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