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Health Care Politics

Advocates Protest Mental Health Cuts

The economic downturn nationally (and internationally too, for that matter) has resulted in difficult budgetary decisions here in Massachusetts. When Governor Patrick announced his 9C cuts in October, mental health advocates were alarmed by the scope of cuts to programs for the Department of Mental Health (DMH). In particular, there were dramatic reductions in spending for day programs for individuals with mental health needs. It was not only the significance of the programs cut (although they are important in helping thousands be full members of the community), but that the cuts taken by... Read more »

Equal Time (sorta): McCain Pushes Back on Health

The McCain campaign just started replying to Obama's overwhelming assault on health care. The Politco's GOP blog reports on a new radio ad airing in battleground states. Here's the audio, from the Politico: Here's the text of the ad, which attacks both Obama and "Congressional liberals" so that the RNC can pay for part of the cost. Announcer (Woman): Independent analysts say Barack Obama’s scaring seniors… Falsely attacking John McCain on Social Security and Medicare. Why? He’s trying to hide that his health care plan limits patient choice and rations care. And experts predict 50 million... Read more »

Health Trends Report released: Common Health for the Commonwealth

The Massachusetts Health Council held an event at the State House this morning to announce the release of their 2008 report Common Health for the Commonwealth: Massachusetts Trends in the Determinants of Health. The report, which tracks health outcomes and the impact of prevention in health, was described as vital to making key policy decisions that impact the lives of Commonwealth residents and holistic with its inclusion of a wide spectrum of policy areas. The report also suggests that negative health indicators (increase in deaths from domestic violence, asthma, obesity in adults and... Read more »

Obama Mantra: "Don't Forget Health Care"

Everyone remembers "It's the economy, stupid," (but if you don't), but not everyone remembers the next line on Carville's sign, "Don't forget health care." Well, the Obama campaign is not forgetting health care. Today's NY Times has some astonishing figures on how strongly the campaign is pushing health care as the issue to voters. This graphic shows the top three ads Obama ran last week. All were about health. Together, they accounted for 62% of all Obama ads for the week, airing an incredible 27,600 times. (the ads are "Tax Health Care," "Health Care Reform" and "Unravel"). Read more »

More Presidential Campaign Health Clicks

We don't take sides between candidates at HCFA, but we have a role talking about how the health care debate is heating up between Senators Obama and McCain. More and more, Obama and his supporters see health care as a top-tier issue. A bunch of interesting links are below. We'd be happy to put up some interesting pro-McCain sites; use the comments or email us with links. Obama dedicated site: The Obama campaign has opened a dedicated web site focusing solely on health issues. It's at healthplanfacts.org. They've also included health as one of their topics in their anti-McCain issues site, www... Read more »

EOHHS Briefing - Budget Cuts Ahead

EOHHS Secretary Bibgy held a stakeholder briefing on the state fiscal challenges on Wednesday afternoon. Read yesterday’s Commonhealth blog for more details. Secretary Bigby highlighted the principles her agency would be following in planning for potential budget reductions. Among them: Maintain essential and core services where possible Protect currently service clients where possible, especially protecting the most vulnerable with the greatest risks Maintain court ordered services (including mental health and children’s dental) Secretary Bigby highlighted the need to align any budget... Read more »

More on Obama's Health Focus

Obama continues to pound away on health. Saturday, he gave a in-depth speech (text; video) in VA contrasting his plan with McCain's. In addition to his points attacking the taxing of employer-provided benefits, Obama broadened his focus to insurer practices that would be permitted under McCain's plan, and outlawed under his: Read more »

Health and Politics Update

A bunch of updates and links on political topics: 1. Health More Important: The latest Kaiser Tracking Poll shows an uptick in concern for health issues among independents, a key demographic. Bottom line: "Roughly one in four (26%) independents rank health care as one of the top issues they would "most like to hear the presidential candidates talk about." Health care's importance has risen among independents by eight percentage points since April. At the same time, health care has dropped even further down Republicans' priority list (now mentioned by 11%, a new low) and stayed roughly stable... Read more »

Medicaid Waiver Press Conference

This afternoon, key leaders gathered to celebrate the details of an agreement reached on the renewal of the Medicaid waiver. Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DiMasi, Senator Kerry, Secretary Bigby, and Medicaid Director Dehner thanked everyone involved in the waiver negotiation process, especially Senator Kennedy, HHS Secretary Leavitt, state legislative and Congressional leaders, and EOHHS and CMS staff, for their hard work and dedication to achieving the goals of health reform. Read more »

Breaking News: Agreement Reached on Medicaid Waiver

CMS and HHS have finalized negotiations on the Medicaid waiver, a critical source of funding (about $11 billion over three years) for Massachusetts health reform efforts. Governor Patrick will release details of the waiver at a press conference this afternoon at 2:00 pm in the State House, Room 157. For more information, read the Globe article, and check our blog later this afternoon for more details! Stay tuned….. Read more »

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