A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Politics

FactCheck Fact Checks Romneycare

As former Governor's Romney's presidential campaign heats up, Massachusetts health reform will again become a beanbag for politicians to kick around to score points. Mike Huckabee's trashing in his book ("we should take a lesson from RomneyCare, which shows that socialized medicine does not work") is one of many examples we will surely see in the coming months. That's why we're so happy that FactCheck.org, a non-partisan, independent truth-seeker, put so much energy into setting out the facts on Massachusetts health reform, in ‘RomneyCare’ Facts and Falsehoods. Read more »

Harvard Medical School Joins the Gift Ban & Disclosure Club

The Globe reports today that Harvard Medical School (HMS) has approved new conflict-of-interest rules.  In doing so, HMS joins the growing list of top medical schools and teaching hospitals that are enacting strict conflict-of-interest policies in an effort to protect doctors from being turned into (or even being seen as) marketing agents for the drug and device industry.  In the Boston area ,UMass Memorial Medical Center adopted new conflict-of-interest rules in 2008; Partners HealthCare did so in 2009; and Boston University School of Medicine is currently revising its own, already strong... Read more »

Brown / Coakley and Massachusetts Health Reform

We always knew that national health reform policy was going to be very dependent on Massachusetts. From the very beginning, we heard that Washington policy path was following "Massachusetts Avenue." One Washington staffer said the goal was to do "Massachusetts, but better." And so the bills passed by both the House and Senate owe their policy basics to chapter 58. People with experience here - John McDonough, Jon Gruber, and even us, to some extent, played an important role and passed on our knowledge. Implementation, too, was always assumed to learn from our model. This Thursday and Friday,... Read more »

4th Annual Connector Board Retreat

This past Saturday, October 17th, the Connector Board held its fourth annual retreat, with the following agenda: Introduction & State Finances State Financial Outlook CommCare FY10 Update Integration of CommCare & CommChoice Long Range Planning National Health Reform Payment Reform (Global Payments) New ANF Secretary Jay Gonzalez ably chaired the retreat, thoughtful and soft-spoken, with all other Board members present, except for interim-Medicaid Director Terry Dougherty. Despite the significant and indefinite stresses of the state budget and national health reform, the morning was... Read more »

From Saturday's Public Forum with Niki Tsongas

Hello From Niki Tsongas’ Community Meeting at the Chelmsford Town Hall. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. but the place was packed to capacity at 9:30 a.m. Hundreds of people were in the overflow of the parking lot, with signs, songs and slogans, and a good dose of respect-filled conversation. Read more »

Cardinal does not want to see the state make a “tragic mistake”

Boston’s top Catholic official asks lawmakers to keep ALL Massachusetts families healthy. Cardinal Sean O’Malley posted this blog about 28,000 legal immigrants who stand to lose their Commonwealth Care coverage. “The Governor and the Legislature in the commonwealth face excruciatingly difficult choices this week. Final decisions about the budget bring together the fact of an economy in deep recession, declining state revenues and multiple human needs among the citizens of the commonwealth … A particular issue of concern to me is the possibility that funding for health coverage for 28,000... Read more »

The final hours – Senate budget debate

The Senate is quickly wrapping up their budget debate. Thank you to all the Senators for their work on restoring health and human services this week with the new revenues. HCFA supports three additional budget items that cost no money. Please contact your Senator today and urge them to support the following amendments. Read more »

March 5th is Community Health Worker Day at the State House

The Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) is hosting a Community Health Worker Advocacy Day at the State House on Thursday, March 5th from 11-3. MACHW will highlight their priority bill, An Act to Certify Community Health Workers in Massachusetts , which seeks to create a board of certification of community health workers. The board will help to improve community health worker training and development, while improving the quality of services CHWs provide to their communities. Health Care For All recognizes the importance CHWs play in creating healthy communities, and... Read more »

United We Stand For Public Health

On Thursday, January 22nd, The United We Stand For Public Health Coalition will be holding a press event at the State House in Nurses Hall at 1PM. The Press event is a call to protect public health in the state’s budget cuts. Programs in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) were cut by $28 million during the October 9C cuts, which was 4.78% of its FY09 budget, one of the highest percentage cuts of any EOHHS agency and among the highest percentage cuts for any area of state government. As a result of the October 2008 9C cuts, MDPH lost nearly 100 positions, including... Read more »

Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

Last Friday, the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum hosted an event titled “Impact of the 2008 Presidential Election on Health Policy.” Harvard professor Bob Blendon presented his analysis of exit polling results from the November presidential election. Stuart Altman, Phil Johnston, and Kerry Healey responded in a panel discussion on the role of health care issues in the election and what we might expect from the Obama administration. For more information and to view Professor Blendon’s slides, click here. Some of Blendon’s key points: Read more »


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