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

Health Care Politics

Senator Barrios Starts a Blog

Sen. Jarrett Barrios joins the blogosphere. Click here for a sample. Welcome aboard! Read more »

HCFA's 07-08 Legislative Agenda

This past Wednesday, a great group of senators and reps filed 15 bills for the 2007-08 session of the Massachusetts legislature on issues that include: health reform, children's mental health, oral health, racial and ethnic health disparities, health care quality, health care costs, and a lot more. We've been working on this agenda with a host of allies over the past six months. We think it's a pretty darn good agenda. Check out the total agenda and its component parts by clicking here. Read more »

Two Cheers for Ron Hollander (and No Jeers)

The board of the Massachusetts Hospital Association dismissed its President Ron Hollander earlier this week, covered by Friday's Boston Globe. Board members apparently had many complaints about MHA's role and clout in health reform and other key policy debates. Let's just note that Ron Hollander is an incredibly decent and hard-working guy, who acted honorably and always kept his word. He genuinely cares about access and quality, and launched a number of good initiatives over the years. Under Ron's leadership, MHA has been a reliable voice and force for improved access. Read more »

Seniors Lose Emergency Drug Coverage -- Can We Fix This, Please?

From State House News Service, yesterday. HCFA, AARP, Mass. Senior Action and others tried to get this fixed before the end of the session on 1/2/07 and were disappointed when it didn't happen. We're delighted the Patrick Administration is taking a look at this and encourage them to do what they can. STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 8, 2007……State government on January 1 stopped covering emergency 30-day supplies of prescription drugs for seniors having difficulty obtaining medications under the new federal Medicare benefit. The program, until it expired, had covered 150 prescriptions per day,... Read more »

Congrats to MA Gov. #71

So we have worked with governors # 66, 67, 68, 69 and 70. Today we congratulate and welcome #71, Gov. Deval Patrick. Here are the words in his inaugural address relating to health care: I know we can have more accessible and more affordable health care for ourselves and our families. But it will take transparency among clinicians and health insurers, a system of care that makes more use of community settings, simplified administrative systems, and government stewardship for the good of the whole. Let’s reach for that. We're looking forward to working with the new team. Read more »

Travaglini, DiMasi Mention Health Care in Opening Remarks

Both Sen. Pres. Travaglini and House Speaker DiMasi made reference to last session's health reform law in their speeches to their respective chambers today. First, the Senate President: As many of you know, our term last session was remarkable. Due to the leadership of this body, Massachusetts has become a model for other states in areas like stem cell research, health care reform and economic growth. Indeed, the Senate's leadership to promote stem cell research has placed us at the forefront of the international community on medical research and development. The Senate was also the driving... Read more »

Romney Vetoes Public Health Council Bill

In one of his final acts, Gov. Romney vetoed legislation to expand and change the appointing structure of the DPH Public Health Council. Here's the State House News account: Read more »

Patrick-Murray Health Care Transition Team Documents

The final report of the Health Care Working Group -- part of a large number of Patrick-Murray Transition working groups -- is now available at the Transition website. Click here for the final health care working group report. There are also several documents describing public comments made at the forums hosted by the health care working group -- click here, and click here for the online comments (yes, it's 82 pages, but the last 46 are blank). Read more »

Good Move -- Gov. Elect Patrick to Restore All Romney 9C Cuts

From State House News: PATRICK TO RESTORE NEARLY ALL ROMNEY'S '9C' CUTS: All of the money, over $380 million, trimmed from the state budget by Gov. Mitt Romney will go back in, Gov. -elect Deval Patrick's top budget aide said today. Leslie Kirwan, the incoming secretary of administration and finance, said would unilaterally restore the "full amount" of the money Romney unilaterally cut. Romney initially slashed $425 million, but restored some of it after seeing a surge in state revenue collections. Patrick, who is vacationing in South Africa this week, said in a press release, “Slightly... Read more »

The Public Health Council Brouhaha: Take Three

In our last episode, Gov. Romney filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Judicial Court (no -- not gay marriage!) to block a part of the MA health reform law which gives non-govermental groups (including HCFA -- no, we didn't ask for this) the power to name members to the Department of Public Health's Public Health Council. The Legislature, recognizing they may have crossed the invisible yet real "separation of powers" line, began pushing for corrective legislation. In today's episode, the House of Reps gave final approval to an amendment to the health reform law (Chapter 58) that requires the non-... Read more »


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