A Healthy Blog

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

MA Health Reform

Unexpected but True: Massachusetts Connector Has Lowest Average Premiums in the Country

It’s hard to believe, but true. Massachusetts has among the highest costs for medical care in the country. Yet, paradoxically, for people who obtain their insurance through the Health Connector, we have the lowest average premium costs in the country. Our “benchmark plan” (explained below) is the second lowest nationally. And these findings apply to the unsubsidized cost of the plans, before the federal tax credits and state ConnectorCare subsidies.  As one expert analyst put it, “Which state has the least-expensive ACA policies? Take a guess. No, guess again.” (link) Read more »

FY19 Health Care Budget Priorities

The Massachusetts Senate recently approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) state budget. The Senate version and the House version must now be reconciled through negotiation between the two chambers. Health Care For All (HCFA) has a number of budget priorities related to health care that have made it this far and should continue on to the final budget. To find HCFA’s full FY19 Conference Committee letter with detailed explanations of our positions, please click here. You can find summaries of each budget priority that HCFA supports below: Read more »

They Say Cut Back. We All Say Fight Back.

Tom Price tears a page from the health care bill during a press conference. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) Read more »

Does Governing Trump Campaigning? The Future of Health Reform in Massachusetts

The election of Donald Trump, running on a platform of complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, puts at risk the coverage of some 22 million people who rely on the law for their health insurance. Patients who depend on the law for their coverage are fearing the worst. Read more »

Study Shows Mass Health Reform Improved Economy, Too

The purpose of health insurance is twofold. First and foremost, it serves to protect a person’s health. Without coverage, people are more likely to delay getting needed care. But, almost as importantly, coverage ensures financial security. Even a routine procedure like an appendectomy could mean financial ruin for the uninsured. An important new study, The Effects of the Massachusetts Health Reform on Household Financial Distress, published in the American Economic Journal, sheds light on the economic impacts of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform. The conclusions suggest that the effects of... Read more »

Blue Cross Foundation Study Looks at the Remaining Uninsured in Massachusetts

Last week, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the University of Massachusetts Medical School released a report entitled “The Remaining Uninsured in MA: Experiences of Individuals Living without Health Insurance Coverage” (read the report here). Massachusetts continues to have the lowest uninsured rate in the nation, with some 97% of residents covered. However, about 200,000 people of diverse age, race and employment status remain uninsured. The goal of this study was to figure out the reasons why people remained uninsured and help inform policy suggestions which would... Read more »

HCFA Enrollment Event in Framingham Connects People to Coverage

Nearly 300 individuals gathered at Fuller Middle School in Framingham this past Saturday, January 16th, seeking health care coverage enrollment and navigation assistance, as well as other health services. Health Care For All’s ‘Grand Enrollment Event’ featured more than 70 HCFA staff and volunteers, including Spanish and Portuguese-speaking health insurance Navigators and Certified Application Counselors. Volunteers helped 154 individuals, 107 of whom were uninsured upon arriving to the event, to enroll in health care coverage. 86% of event attendees self-reported as Portuguese-speaking,... Read more »

Consumers Share Personal Stories in Support of HCFA’s "No Copay" Bill

At Tuesday’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing public hearing, legislators heard testimony from advocates, consumers and health providers on a number of important bills, including three of HCFA’s priority bills: Read more »

More Thoughts on the CHIA Report ("A blip, not a bloop")

The headline leads today's Globe's front page: Health care costs jump, a setback for Mass. There's no question that today's report from CHIA, with its topline finding of a 4.8% per capita growth in total health care spending in 2014, might lead to the perception that our progress in controlling health care cost growth has hit a bump. Certainly 4.8% exceeds the state's goal of holding spending growth to 3.6% or less. But digging into the report, there's a complex mix of good and bad news, and the report defies simplistic conclusions. So here are a few of our takeaways: Read more »

Audrey Shelto, President of Blue Cross Foundation, On Our “Near-Universal” Health Care

We've come a long way since 2006, but still have a distance to go. That's the message of an opinion piece in the Tauton Daily Gazette by Audrey Shelto, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. She notes that census data indicate that, still, four percent of Massachusetts’ population – more than 250,000 people – remain uninsured. The number of uninsured is much higher in some areas of the Commonwealth. In April, the Foundation released a report that found that uninsurance rates are sharply higher in certain pockets of the state. In one section of Framingham, the... Read more »

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