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

MA Health Reform

"Why the Mass. Health Connector Website Will Work"

Today's Boston Globe Podium section includes an update from Maydad Cohen, the Governor's health reform czar (horrible official title: "special assistant to the governor for project delivery." Please.). The bold forecast, "Why the Mass. Health Connector website will work" It's based on the report he provided to the Health Connector Board this morning. The bottom line: "More people have health insurance in Massachusetts today than ever, and we will have a website that makes it easier for them to access coverage from day one of open enrollment." Read more »

Today's Healthy Read: 7 Charts That Prove Obamacare Is Working (starring ... Massachusetts!)

At The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn rounds up 7 charts showing the positive impact of the Affordable Care Act.   This is a great summary of the latest findings in a number of areas. You know that coverage is increasing and uninsurance is down. But maybe you weren't aware that more people are paying less for their coverage this year compared to last year, or that employer premiums nationally went up just 3%. This piece is the perfect fact check rejoinder when someone incorrectly claims that Obamacare is increasing the deficit (it's lowering the deficit), or that insurers are abandoning the... Read more »

Chart of the Day: Census Data on Uninsurance Rates in Cities

From a new Census Bureau report on uninsurance rates in the 25 largest metropolitan areas: (UPDATE: Here's how the website Vox.com reported on the chart:)    Read more »

We're Still The One: Mass Leads Nation in Coverage

Today the Census Bureau released its annual insurance coverage data, covering 2013 The Mass Budget and Policy Center has the results: We still lead the nation in coverage. Their conclusions: Read more »

Connector Prepares for Open Enrollment

Last Thursday, the Connector Board received updates on the progress on the eligibility and enrollment system and website, approved the Connector’s Fall 2014 Open Enrollment outreach plan and voted to approve the final 2015 Seal of Approval. With 65 days until the start of open enrollment, which runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, this is a crucial time for each of these activities. Materials from the meeting can be found on the Connector’s website, under About – Leadership – Board Meetings. The update on the enrollment and eligibility system is here, and the outreach and... Read more »

Connector Moves Forward with hCentive, Plans Outreach Activities, and Repeals Employer Health Care Regulations

As announced earlier this month, Massachusetts is moving forward with a state-based system for its health insurance eligibility and enrollment system and consumer-facing website. Today’s Connector Board meeting focused on the progress made in building this new system and the Connector and MassHealth’s plans for coverage transitions and outreach and enrollment leading up to the next open enrollment period. The Connector Board also voted on the repeal of some obsolete employer-related regulations. The Connector ran through a live demonstration of the work-in-progress website, showing that it... Read more »

Breaking: Massachusetts Granted Permission To Operate State-Based Health Exchange

This great news just in from the state. We're very pleased, because it means Massachusetts can proceed with its own affordability assistance and other state programs that will meet the needs of our consumers: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Press Release STATE TO USE hCENTIVE AS HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE WEBSITE FOR FALL 2014 OPEN ENROLLMENTDecision means Massachusetts will remain a State-based Marketplace, FFM no longer needed as a contingency plan BOSTON – Friday, August 8, 2014 – Maydad Cohen, Special Assistant to the Governor for Project Delivery, today announced that the Patrick... Read more »

Connector Reports Progress with hCentive, Awards 2015 Conditional Seal of Approval, and Approves Budget

Thursday’s Health Connector Board meeting was jam-packed with important agenda items, including: Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) Project Update; Conditional 2015 Seal of Approval; Health Connector Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015 Administrative Budgets; and Dell Work Orders. It's clear that the Connector staff is pleased with the progress being made towards "standing up" (their phrase) the website and eligibilty system for the fall open enrollment. New health reform czar Maydad Cohen has confidently mastered the complex details of the ongoing work.  Still, there are real risks, and they continue to... Read more »

Health reform for the long haul - Chip's perspective

Our friend and Board member Chip Joffe-Halpern wrote a column for the Berkshire Eagle (State health reform for the long haul), explaining some of the challenges and successes in Massachusetts’ implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Chip runs Ecu-Health Care, a non-profit which helps the uninsured and underinsured residents of North Berkshire access affordable health care. His op-ed today puts into context where we are, and where we are going. He concludes that, “Massachusetts has implemented policies that go beyond the federal guidelines and will more effectively achieve the objectives of... Read more »

Connector Board Discusses Path Forward for IT Systems Fix, Repeals Employer Regulations

Last Thursday, the Health Connector Board met to discuss progress with the “dual track” plan to fix the eligibility and enrollment system; vote on work orders with business vendor Dell; and vote to repeal employer-related regulations. Jean Yang began with her Executive Director’s report, with a preview of the July board meeting. In July, Connector staff plan to come to the Board with: Read more »

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