A Healthy Blog

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

MA Health Reform

Breaking: Health Connector Announces Coverage Extensions

At this morning’s Health Connector Board meeting, Maydad Cohen, the new health reform implementation czar (official title: Special Assistant to the Governor for Project Delivery), announced that Massachusetts received approval from federal CMS officials to extend the Commonwealth Care and temporary MassHealth coverage programs through December 31, 2014. Over 100,000 residents are enrolled in Commonwealth Care and 227,000 residents are receiving temporary MassHealth coverage. People who are getting coverage through these programs will have their coverage automatically extended through the end... Read more »

Not For Wonks Only: House/Senate Budgets Comparison

The Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released its latest budget analysis comparing the FY 2015 House and Senate budgets for MassHealth and health reform programs. The analysis, prepared with the Mass Law Reform Institute and the Mass Budget and Policy Center, goes deep into the details now being hashed out by the House-Senate Conference Committee on the state budget for the upcoming year. The report highlights two differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget that we're particularly focused on: Read more »

The Best Study is a Meta-Study, and This One's Good News on Mass Health Reform

A meta-study is research that combines results of lots of other studies. Like a meta-joke is joke about jokes ("A priest, a rabbi and a leprechaun walk into a bar. The leprechaun looks around and says, 'Saints preserve us! I'm in the wrong joke!'"). Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, a research economist at Boston College, published a useful compendium of research on Massachusetts health reform for their Center for Retirement Research. The meta-study looks at the impact of Massachusetts health reform on coverage, health outcomes, costs and the labor market. The study was itself summarized by noted BC... Read more »

In Case You Missed It - AIM's Rick Lord: "The Economic Benefit of Massachusetts Health Reform"

Associated Industries of Massachusetts is one of the leading business groups in Massachusetts, and its President/CEO, Rick Lord, is a long-time champion of business concerns. He also served as the small business representative on the initial Health Connector board. Read more »

Connector Implementing Dual-Track Fix for Website

  Today’s Health Connector Board meeting focused on the big news of the week – the Connector’s decision to implement a dual-track plan to fix their underperforming health coverage website. On a 10-1 vote, the Connector endorsed the approach recommended by the administration. Health Care For All supports the decision, and Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer issued this statement following the meeting: "Health Care For All strongly supports the decision by the Patrick administration to implement a health care coverage website that is tailored to meet the needs of the people of... Read more »

Testimony From Last Week's Connector Enrollment Systems Hearing (UPDATED)

Last week the legislature's Committee on Health Care Financing held a public hearing on the issues stemming from the problems with the enrollment and eligibility systems built for the Health Connector and MassHealth. The testimony from the administrative was offered by Secretaries John Polanowicz (Health and Human Services) and Glen Shor, (Administration and Finance); the Connector Website czar (formal title: Special Assistant to the Governor for Project Delivery) Sarah Iselin; Health Connector Executive Director Jean Yang; and MassHealth Director Kristin Thorn. Read more »

Connector Board Report: Coverage Gains; Big Decisions To Come

The Board of the Health Connector met today to learn about progress in providing coverage, and to discuss next steps in repairing the flawed website and eligibility technology used to enroll people into ACA-compliant health coverage. Two big bottom lines came out of the meeting. First, an astonishing 234,150 more people are receiving subsidized coverage now compared to last December (see chart above for details). While not all of these people were previously uninsured, many? most? certainly were, leading to the conclusion that we have dramatically expanded health coverage in Massachusetts,... Read more »

The ACA Is Good For Massachusetts - Coverage Simplification Edition

The Blue Cross Foundation today issued an update to their essential chartpack, MassHealth: The Basics - Facts, Trends and National Context. The charts are prepared by the Center for Health Law and Economics at the UMass Medical School, and put MassHealth, our Medicaid program, in the context of who gets helped, what it costs, and how people get coverage. The Foundation has been issuing these periodically since 2008, and they are the definitive source of background on MassHealth.The latest one includes charts showing that Read more »

Closing North Adams Hospital - A Thought Experiment (UPDATED)

(AP photo) Here's a thought experiment prompted by the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital: Read more »

Connector Board Meeting - Still Making Progress; Still Ways To Go

The Connector Board met today to discuss progress in addressing short- and long-term issues related to the website and eligibility system; vote to approve the extension of Commonwealth Care through June 30th; and vote to approve the final calendar year 2014 affordability schedule. Materials from the meeting, including the updated "dashboard," are posted on the Connector's website. Our full report takes just a click: Read more »


Subscribe to MA Health Reform