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

Health Care Politics

We Need To Defend The ACA

Last Friday, HCFA hosted a conference call to discuss the Supreme Court decision on the ACA and its implications for both Massachusetts and the nation at large. The key takeaway from the call? The Affordable Care Act needs to be defended in the upcoming policy debates, even here in Massachusetts. Folks on the call and regular readers of this blog know that the ACA is good for Massachusetts. That’s why we’re asking: will you write a Letter to the Editor in your local paper supporting the Affordable Care Act? Read more »

Meet Mary Flynn from Brewster

I want you all to meet Mary Flynn from Brewster, Massachusetts. Awhile back, she called our HelpLine because she was having problems with COBRA and needed health insurance. As the Supreme Court takes a closer look at Massachusetts’s health reform, folks across the nation want to know: has it worked? Mary is here to tell you: absolutely. Yesterday, she was highlighted in Bloomberg News because she was helped by Massachusett’s health reform law: Flynn, a public relations executive in Boston, left her job in February 2011 to start her own company. She signed up for COBRA health insurance from... Read more »

Romney's Rock and Hard Place

MSNBC guest host Ezra Klein had a good story last night on Romney's political dilemma, featuring economist and Connector Board member Jonathan Gruber. As evidence spreads of the success of Massachusetts health reform, Romney can't acknowledge or take credit for the results. There's no mention of chapter 58 or "RomneyCare" anywhere on Romney's web pages. Watch: Read more »

The Task of Massachusetts: Spreading the Word About Reform

WaPo Wonkblog's Sarah Kliff found this group of questions about chapter 58 included the latest Harris poll on health reform attitudes. Read more »

What Santorum Means

This exchange from last Thursday's Florida Republican debate was the most extensive discussion of health care so far in the primary season:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkC7WnxQccM Romney gave a cogent, articulate defense of Massachusetts health reform (which of course goes just as well for national health reform under the ACA). Romney offered his standard defense of the individual mandate as reducing the number of "free riders" - "[I]f you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have... Read more »

Must Reading: Berwick's Reply

In a talk at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement annual forum this week, Don Berwick encapsulated his wisdom of how health care change can happen, his rage at the politics and cynicism that accompanied his work at CMS, and his optimism for a more humane and efficient health care system. I'd strongly urge everyone to read the entire speech. It's so hard to pick out the highlights, but here are some excerpts: Read more »

Lower Copays Create Better Patient Outcomes

A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the simple strategy of eliminating copayments may improve the quality of health outcomes for patients. The study, supported by the Commonwealth Fund, concludes that patients discharged from the hospital following myocardial infarction (heart attack) were more likely to take vital medications prescribed for their condition when copayments were waived. The patients with full coverage for their medications also experienced fewer heart attacks, strokes, and other vascular events during the study period, as compared with... Read more »

Thanks, Barney

Barney Frank was and is a fierce defender of health care. Losing his voice in Congress will leave a big hole. I've followed Barney's career since working in Congress with a close colleague of his in the early 80s, and as a constituent since the late 80s. We at Health Care For All worked closely with office over the years, and he was an aggressive advocate for health care. His top-notch staff always helped out when federal issues needed tending. Read more »

Individual Mandate Repeal Initiative Fail

The proposed initiative to repeal the individual mandate as part of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law has failed to gather sufficient signatures to get a place on the ballot next year. In an email to supporters yesterday, the "Massachusetts Against the Individual Mandate" (MAIM - seriously?) group, sponsored by Mass Citizens for Life, acknowledged that they were not able to get enough volunteers to gather the 69,000+ signatures needed. The effort never seemed to take off. For example, their Facebook page peaked at 34 "friends", and their website stop adding posts in mid-October. Read more »

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