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

MA Health Reform

Happy 50th Birthday Medicaid! Celebrate with a Massachusetts Medicaid Timeline

Happy Birthday, Medicaid and Medicare! Today is the 50th anniversary of the signing of Social Security Act of 1965 which created both programs. Massachusetts has had a particularly important role in influencing the evolution of Medicaid at the federal level and among the states. In honor of the day, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation created a spectacular interactive timeline to showcase major milestones in Medicaid history in Massachusetts .  Notably, many of the expansions and innovations of the past 30 years are the result of the advocacy legacy of HCFA.    Read more »

Court Looks To Massachusetts As It Upholds The Affordable Care Act

Today's 6-3 Supreme Court decision has Massachusetts health reform written all over it, right up front. After describing past failures to effectively reform health care coverage policy, Chief Justice Roberts turns to us, on pages 3-4 of the opinion: We couldn't be prouder of the role Massachusetts has played in the formulation, passage and implementation of the ACA. We were the incubator of the ideas, the test bed for the policy, and, of course, our delegation, led by Senator Kennedy, was crucial in the law's passage. Now our success is pivotal to upholding the law, establishing it as part... Read more »

The ACA is Good For Massachusetts (Budget Impact Edition)

We've done a bunch of posts on the topic of the ACA is good for Massachusetts. The ACA does much more than just switch RomneyCare to ObamaCare. Under the ACA, we've been able to provide premium assistance for more people, allow children to remain on their parents' health coverage longer, eliminate limits on benefits, provide free preventive care, including contraception, in insurance plans, and improve drug coverage for seniors on Medicare. The ACA has improved care quality, funded community health centers, workforce development, community prevention and 52 patient-centered research projects... Read more »

Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds

Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing. Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:   Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER REGARDING THE GOVERNOR'S FY 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL   Read more »

CHIA Reports on ACA: "Massachusetts is growing closer to near-universal coverage."

CHIA, the state's Center for Health Information and Analysis, just released their latest report totaling all enrollment in insurance coverage in Massachusetts. This is the first report that looks at the impact of the ACA coverage expansions here, which started on January 1, 2014. The breathtaking bottom line: The ACA has dramatically expanded health coverage in Massachusetts. In just the 3 months between December 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014, total coverage increased by more than 215,000 people, or around 3.9%. CHIA's conclusion: Read more »

No March Deadline for Getting Help Paying for Health Insurance in Massachusetts!

No March Deadline for Getting Help Paying for Health Insurance in Massachusetts! You may have heard that the last day to enroll into a Health Connector health plan is March 24th. That is the case only if you are seeking a health plan from the Health Connector without getting help to pay for it and/or if you want your coverage to start for April 1st. BUT - if you are seeking help paying for a Health Connector Qualified Health Plan or qualify for MassHealth – you do not have a deadline for getting help. People that need help paying for health insurance in Massachusetts can apply anytime during... Read more »

FY19 Health Care Senate Budget Amendments Review

Just last week, the Massachusetts Senate released their budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1 of this year. Senators will be debating and voting on many amendments in the short term, including a number of important health care related amendments.  HCFA is supporting a number of amendments that will improve access to affordable and quality health care coverage; there are also some proposed amendments we oppose that would move our state backwards. With debate in the Senate starting, it is critical that your Senator knows how constituents feel about these critical health... Read more »

What You Need To Know About MassHealth Accountable Care Organization Changes

Starting tomorrow, MassHealth is enrolling most members into new health plan options, including Accountable Care Organizations. The change will impact up to 1.2 million MassHealth members. What are MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)? ACOs are provider-led organizations that coordinate care and are accountable for the quality and total cost of care of its members. Primary Care Providers (PCPs) work together with members and their team of network providers to coordinate care and connect members with available services and supports. MassHealth ACOs are a new kind of managed care... Read more »

CHIA Report: Mass Uninsurance Rate Low. But Costs Still a Barrier to Care

The recently released 2017 Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey from the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) found that at only 3.7 percent, the uninsurance rate in the Commonwealth remains well below the rest of the nation. Nevertheless, insurance coverage does not automatically translate into health care access, and with nearly one in ten Massachusetts residents underinsured, it is clear there is more to the story of Bay Staters’ ability to get the care they need when they need it. Read more »

Senate Passes Comprehensive Health Care Bill

Last week, the state Senate considered over 150 amendments proposed to their comprehensive health care cost control package, titled the HEALTH Act, for Health Empowerment and Affordability while Leveraging Transformative Health care (see our initial thoughts on the bill here). After spending two full days discussing and voting on amendments, the Senate approved the bill right at midnight on November 9. The final Senate bill, incorporating all the amendments, is expected to be numbered S. 2211, and so should be available online here. Read more »

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