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

Health Care Politics

The New Health Reform Landscape – Post Election

My oh my. Things do look different over the crest of this hill. Let’s observe some features in the new post-election landscape ahead of us… State (non-Massachusetts) Reform: A surge in Democratic control in State Houses, as documented by the New York Times. A total of 275 seats went from red to blue, and nine chambers switched. None as dramatic as our friend to the north, New Hampshire, switching both chambers to Democratic control for the first time since 1874. And the number of blue governors goes from 22 to 28. Read more »

Election Return Bits and Pieces

Congrats to our new Governor-elect Deval Patrick. More to say in coming posts. Here are some developments from yesterday's elections we found especially interesting: Read more »

Romney Sues over Public Health Council Picks

By AP's Steve LeBlanc. As I say at the end, Romney has every right to raise this issue, and may indeed have a legal point regarding separation of powers. The reason the legislature took the power away (Romney vetoed this part of the health reform law and his veto was overwhelmingly overridden by House and Senate) is because four governors in a row have stripped the Public Health Council of any legitimacy because of mediocre, patronage based appointments. It will be interesting to see where the SJC comes down on this. Gov. Mitt Romney is asking the state’s highest court to reject a law... Read more »

Budget Storm Clouds on the Near Horizon

Lead editorial in today's Globe suggests a state budget squeeze is at hand. No action before election day, though what happens on Wednesday? Will lame duck Gov. Romney use his "9c" budget power to make unilateral cuts? Enhances his budget discipline street cred in the Republican presidential race -- the more people scream, the better he looks in that narrative. Or he says I tried, Legislature overrode my vetoes, and leaves it to Deval Patrick to solve his first governing dilemma. Either way, this undiscussed issue will grow in importance quite quickly after Tuesday. Hard to see how... Read more »

Thursday's Debate: The Health Care Question

Transcript from last night's debate, courtesy of Boston.com's blog: Allison King (NECN): Ms. Ross under the new state health care law, starting in July thousands of families with no health insurance will be in for a shock when they realize they're going to have to purchase health care on their own at a cost of nearly $3,000 a year. As governor would you be prepared to enforce this law even if families can't afford it? Read more »

Tip of the Hat to LG Candidate Tim Murray

If you missed it, you can view last night's debate by the candidates for lieutenant governor on New England Cable News by clicking here. If you click the link for the debate, the 6th segment includes an exchange between Democrat Tim Murray and Republican Reed Hillman on health reform. In response to a Jim Braude question on health care costs, Murray issues an endorsement of the MA health reform law (Chapter 58) and criticizes Kerry Healey for wanting to eliminate the $295 assessment on employers who don't make a "fair and reasonable" contribution to their workers' health coverage,... Read more »

WBUR on Health Care & the Gubernatorial Candidates

Not to be missed -- Martha Bebinger's excellent report on health care and the gubernatorial campaign. Click here to connect with WBUR's website. Here's Kerry Healey: "...even now I can see forces in the state organizing to shanghai this bill..." Is she talking about us? C'mon and say it ... we dare you! Healey also states her opposition to one of the cornerstones of Chapter 58, the responsibility for employers who don't make a "fair and reasonable" contribution to their employee's health insurance to pay a $295 per worker assessment to the state. Deval Patrick makes it plain he supports the... Read more »

Patrick, Healey Spar on Employer Responsibility

Didn't get any significant play from what we can see, but Deval Patrick and Kerry Healey had themselves a dust-up on health reform yesterday. Patrick criticized Healey's opposition to the health reform law's $295 assessment on employers who do not make a "fair and reasonable" contribution to their employees' health insurance premiums. Here's an account of the exchange, embedded in an AP campaign trail story, included in the Boston Globe website, and not in today's Globe: ...Patrick instead focused on the state's new universal health care law, meeting with medical professionals at the East... Read more »

Huh? The Herald Suggests that HCFA Form a Party(!?)

How did we get drawn into this one? Today's Herald runs an editorial criticizing Question Two on the November 7th ballot which would permit candidates for office to be listed on more than one party's line. Somehow -- don't ask us -- the Herald editorial writers decided to bring us in on the fray: We must have missed the memo detailing the crisis of getting politicians to pay attention to the demands of special interests. Funny, in our experience, that’s what pols do best. It’s getting them to pay attention to the concerns of regular citizens they have trouble with. But increased attention... Read more »

Big Tobacco Back on the Warpath

Interesting (and free) piece in today's Wall Street Journal on how the tobacco industry is fighting hard against a series of initiatives on November ballots to raise cigarette taxes for a variety of purposes, especially expanding affordable health coverage for kids. Click here for the article. Read more »

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