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

Health Care Politics

Senate Pres. Travaglini Moves On...

Anyone who followed the legislative process leading to passage of Chapter 58, the MA health reform law, knows that HCFA and the Affordable Care Today coalition (ACT!!) had more than our share of disagreements with the Senate in general and Senate President Bob Travaglini in particular, especially on the issue of employer responsibility. In spite of that difficulty, as he leaves the office of Senate President today, we wish him well in his new endeavors and thank him for the many things he did as President to advance the cause of quality and affordable health care for everyone in... Read more »

HCFA Releases its Cost Control Agenda

Controlling rising health care costs: We know what we're against. We reject proposals that seek to reduce costs by imposing greater expenses on patients, such as high deductible “consumer-directed” plans, higher co-payments or co-insurance. That's easy. So what are we for? Today HCFA released a report supporting comprehensive legislation that represents a consumer-driven cost control agenda for Massachusetts. The report summarizes the 17 provisions in the bill (S. 1238 (Montigny) / H. 2197 (Marzilli)) that we drafted to open a serious conversation about health care costs. Read more »

Sarah Iselin Named Commissioner of Health Care Finance and Policy

Warm congratulations to Sarah Iselin, who was named today Commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. Sarah played a key role in setting the health reform agenda when she served as the director of Policy, Research and Evaluation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and was responsible for setting and directing the Foundation’s policy agenda, including the Roadmap to Coverage initiative. The Roadmap project played a key role in jumpstarting the reform debate, and setting the ambitious goal of universal coverage. Read more »

NYT Poll -- The New Health Reform Wave Keeps Growing

If you missed it, see the New York Times article yesterday detailing results from a national survey indicating a strong majority of Americans want national health reform and a government backed guarantee of universal coverage. Click here if you would like to see a short video presentation of the results. About half are willing to pay $500 or more in new taxes to make the guarantee real. And more are willing to see the Bush tax cuts repealed. And a whopping 84% support expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover all uninsured kids. Read more »

Budget Is Available Online

Budget is available…More info available than any House One we've ever seen. More to come...http://www.mass.gov/budget Read more »

Governors Turn Up the Heat on Children's Health Coverage

Reauthorization of the State Children' s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is going to be health issue number one in Congress this year. It's not just members of Congress who understand this. Governors are beginning to turn up the heat bigtime as this New York Times article makes clear. Read more »

The Definitive Word from Stephen Colbert on Bush's Health Proposal

This from today's NYT -- Stephen Colbert's definitive judgment on President Bush's health coverage proposal: “It’s so simple. Most people who can’t afford health insurance also are too poor to owe taxes. But if you give them a deduction from the taxes they don’t owe, they can use the money they’re not getting back from what they haven’t given to buy the health care they can’t afford.” Click here for the whole article, a well written argument in support of single payer, with one glaring exception: Read more »

Hey, Check Out John Edwards' Health Proposal

Dem. Presidential Candidate John Edwards yesterday became the first candidate to outline a detailed proposal for universal coverage. If you see any resemblence to MA health reform, you're not alone. "Shared responsibility" for starters. He sets a high bar for the other candidates. Let's see how they respond. Click here to read the plan. Summary below edited from today's Kaiser Health Policy Report: Read more »

Ex-Gov.Romney Creates Some Space

Had to happen, only a question of when and how much. Today's Globe reports that former Gov. and Republican Pres. candidate Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the April 2006 health reform law he signed and has bragged about all over the nation. Some high (or low) lights: Read more »

Report from Families USA Conference -- the "U" Word Is Back

WASHINGTON DC -- FAMILIES USA CONFERENCE: The big health reform wave of this era will take place beginning in 2009 with the inauguration of a new President and a new Congress, for whom national health reform to cover all uninsured is an electoral mandate issue. Three smaller waves need to fully form to ensure the creation and sustainment of that larger wave: The first one is state-initiated health reform. Massachusetts and Vermont kicked this off in spring 2006 with passage of their respective health reform laws. Expanding coverage for the uninsured is now a front burner issue in at least... Read more »


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