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

Health Care Politics

Blue Cross / Tufts Medical Center Impasse - Who's Looking Out for the Patients?

Today’s announcement that Tufts Medical Center and its physicians at the New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA), and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts hit a contracting impasse (see coverage from WBUR, and this personal story, and the Globe story), has our heads spinning. As advocates for creating a more patient centered health care system, we see today’s announcement as both a step in the wrong direction, and a clarion call for a more comprehensive solution to the problem of escalating health care costs. Read more »

Who Fact Checks The Fact Checker? (UPDATED to Reflect Changes in the Original Column)

[Update: The Post revised their column in response to our request, after a conversation I had with the author. They removed some of the most egregious errors, but the column still reflects a hazy understanding of the goals and results of health reform here. Much of the blame lies with the Romney campaign, which defended Romney's statement with some confusing points. We'd encourage everyone to read the cogent comment to this post by Katherine, who clarifies the issues substantially. I've noted below in italics what was changed in the rewrite -Brian Rosman] Read more »

The Final Word (yeah, right) on Romney and Health Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants

The truth-telling FactCheck.org actually talked to Massachusetts health policy people, and comes up with the definitive last word on the charge that in signing chapter 58, Governor Romney initiated a program that provides "free health care to illegals." The verdict: Read more »

And now, a time out from the circus:

While the Obamacare/Romneycare circus continues to spin out of control, how about a reasoned, knowledgeable discussion of the contrasts and similarities by two people who know what they are talking about? Read more »

More Circus Antics Around Romney and Massachusetts Health Care (video update at bottom)

With former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney seeking the Republican Presidential nomination, his record is under the microscope by his opponents and the press. Unfortunately, most of the muck being heaped on our universal health care law is misguided or incomplete, including a story in today’s L.A. Times which focused on Massachusetts’ Health Safety Net program. Read more »

MA Health Reform Frightful In Rick Perry Campaign Ad

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"273","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] We really like Gawker's take on the new Rick Perry ObamaCare/RomneyCare spot: Rick Perry Documents the Horror of Giving People Medical Care Rick Perry ... has released his latest, scariest opus, just in time for Satan's birthday, Halloween. It goes something like: Read more »

FactCheck.org slams down Beacon Hill Institute "RomneyCare Lost Jobs" Study

The factcheckers at FactCheck.org are continuing to debunk the bunk. When the Rick Perry campaign started picking up the illogical conclusions of the latest Beacon Hill Institute study, the issue started getting national attention. The FactCheck.org reporters started checking around, and found an inconvenient fact: Massachusetts’ unemployment rate mirrored the nation’s back in April 2006, when the law was enacted — 4.8 percent for the state compared with 4.7 percent for the nation. But the state has fared better than the U.S. overall since. Its rate is now 7.4 percent, compared with 9.1... Read more »

Protecting Medicaid

The LA Times and the Politico's tick-tocks on the final stages of the debt ceiling deal have this great detail: Late Saturday, a new demand from Republican negotiators stunned White House officials. In a conference call with senior administration aides, McConnell's staff noted that the deal called for sharp cuts in military spending as part of the trigger. The Republican staff members said that getting votes on their side of aisle for the bill would be difficult because of that. As a sweetener, the Republicans asked, would the White House agree to add Medicaid cuts to the trigger? Talking on... Read more »

Romnesia

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the legislature's enactment of chapter 58, the Massachusetts health reform law. Five years ago, we wrote that supporters should thank Speaker DiMasi, Senate President Travaglini, but also give Governor Romney his due: "We’ve had more than our share of disagreements. Still, Gov. Romney’s commitment to reform was unwavering. And his key insight — using safety net dollars to expand coverage — is the cornerstone of this reform." Read more »

What None of the Critics Understand About the Health Safety Net/Uncompensated Care Pool

The Health Safety Net (HSN, formerly the Uncompensated Care Pool) program, which reimburses hospitals and community health centers for some care provided to very low income patients, is under fire. A report by the Inspector General, later amplified in news reports (see here, and here) with details apparently leaked to the Herald that are not in the public record, accuse the program of paying improper claims for out-of-state residents, medically unlikely claims, and other concerns. Read more »

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