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Health Care Politics

Should Obama Pursue Comprehensive Reform?

In Friday's debate, the candidates were asked what programs or priorities they would have to give up because of the cost of the financial rescue. Neither candidate really answered, but instead each talked about what they wouldn't give up. For Obama, one of the priorities that he would insist on was health reform: We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just -- a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families. They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care. I... Read more »

Health Care Re-enters Presidential Debate

The Obama campaign returned to health care in their latest TV ad, pivoting off the banking crisis, and McCain's support for deregulating insurance markets by allowing cross-border sales: [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"236","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] There's been a lot of analysis today about whether the ad is accurate or not. New Republic's Jonathan Cohen links to the discussion and defends the spot. Over on Blue Mass Group, Charlie reminds us about the protections Massachusetts would lose if out-of... Read more »

Best Lede Graf on McCain Health Plan Study

Everyone is covering the Health Affairs study slamming John McCain's health plan. The best lead paragraph came from the normally fairly-staid New York Times: Senator John McCain’s top domestic policy adviser, former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, recently said in a conference call with reporters that Mr. McCain’s health care proposal would “put 25 to 30 million individuals out of the ranks of the uninsured, into the ranks of the insured.” In an article released Tuesday, a panel of prominent health economists concludes that Mr. Holtz-Eakin’s projection is off by,... Read more »

September Connector Board Meeting on Tuesday

The next Connector Board meeting is Tuesday, September 16th, from 3:003:30 – 5:00 pm in the 21st floor conference room of One Ashburton Place, Boston. Among other agenda items, we expect the Board to discuss the revised Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) regulations. When the agenda and meeting materials are released, you can find them here. Read more »

Consumers, Employers and Insurers Weigh In at MCC Hearing

The Connector held a hearing on revisions to the Minimum Creditable Coverage (MCC) regulations yesterday. The regulations determine coverage standards for health plans Massachusetts residents must have to comply with the individual mandate. Board members Lou Malzone, Celia Wcislo, Rick Lord, Dolores Mitchell, and Nancy Turnbull, Connector Executive Director Jon Kingsdale, and Connector General Counsel Jamie Katz heard comments about the proposed regulations from consumers and consumer advocates as well as insurers and employers. Read more »

FY 2010 Budget Battle Begins

As the cliche goes, the ink is barely dry on this year's budget when action starts on the next one. Yesterday the Executive Office of Health and Human Services held the first of two public hearings on their FY2010 budget. Yesterday's event took place at the Reggie Lewis Center; a similar hearing was held today in Springfield. Read more »

Truth in advertising? Not for BIO

For an industry that regularly tops the charts on profit margins, we weren’t surprised to see the full page ad in the Boston Globe today, signed by Biotechnology Industry Association, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Massachusetts High Technology Council, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, and the PhRMA itself. To be honest, we were sort of surprised that they didn’t underwrite an entire special edition of the Globe. Read more »

Launch of the Quality and Cost Council Web-site – October?

Charlie Baker on his blog today writes about a recent story in the Boston Business Journal about the delays incurred by the MA Health Care Quality and Cost Council (HCQCC). He lists the difficulties of getting the web-site launched. Just last week, the legislature passed a landmark cost containment and quality health care bill. The bill includes a provision that healthcare-associated infections and serious reportable events be made public on the HCQCC’s website. HCFA and its Consumer Health Quality Council hope that the HCQCC’s web-site is launched soon, so that this data will be available... Read more »

ONE LAST PUSH!

Last week the Legislature passed S.2863, An Act to Promote Cost Containment, Transparency and Efficiency in the Delivery of Quality Health Care. This omnibus bill contains many commendable provisions, including sections which promote payment reform, create efficiencies in the health care system, and improve access to health care services. One more action is needed!! Contact Gov. Patrick today and ask for his support of S.2863. Click here to email the Governor and thank him for his continued leadership on the successful implementation of health reform and encourage him to sign S.2863 into... Read more »

It's About Device Makers, Too

Some folks have wondered why the ban on gift giving to physicians extends beyond pharmaceutical companies to medical device makers. For the answer, see this article in the May 19 Business Week: In February, spine surgeon Dr. Charles D. Rosen stood before the Senate Special Committee on Aging and chastised the medical device industry for its unethical marketing practices. Rosen, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California at Irvine, told legislators that surgeons often receive huge consulting fees from companies in return for using the manufacturers' products or... Read more »

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