A Healthy Blog

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

Massachusetts Budget

Consumers Groups Push for Strong Transparency Provisions in Health Care Bill

Health Care For All, along with MassPIRG, Health Law Advocates, Community Catalyst and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council recently wrote a letter on the issue of drug transparency to the conferees meeting to work out a final health care bill. We urged the Conference Committee to include strong transparency measures to help tackle the problem of skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Prescription drug costs are currently the fastest growing healthcare expense – by far. For both public and private plans, increases in pharmacy costs far outpace every other expense. Rising drug prices are... Read more »

HCFA Recommendations to Health Care Bill Conference Committee

With both the House and Senate having passed ambitious health care bills this session, now a joint House-Senate conference committee is hammering out the differences to reconcile the two bills for final passage. Health Care For All recently provided comments to the legislature on our recommendations for provisions  to reduce health care costs, protect consumers, and strengthen our state’s health care system. While Massachusetts has the highest insurance coverage rate in the country, there is still progress to be made to improve the quality and affordability of health care in the Commonwealth... 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 »

Dental Therapists Provide the Oral Health Benefits Massachusetts Deserves

Oral health matters. Adequate oral health reduces emergency department utilization and enhances health equity. Knowing these benefits, Governor Baker included an amendment in the proposals he sent to the legislature in connection with his budget vetoes that authorizes dental therapists in Massachusetts, a proposal we strongly support. By allowing mid-level dental therapists (DTs) to deliver basic but critically necessary care, this amendment would increase access to dental coverage for underserved Massachusetts residents. Read more »

Contact Your Representative - HCFA's House Budget Amendments

The state House of Representatives released their draft budget this week. The budget funds the state's MassHealth and other health programs, and includes many provision supported by HCFA. Our friends at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute released an outstanding summary of the provisions affecting low income residents, including MassHealth and other health concerns. House budget debate starts on April 24. Read more »

HCFA's Budget Priorities - Fiscal Year 2017

The House-Senate conference committee on the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget held its first meeting last week to negotiate a final budget based on the House and Senate budgets passed in each branch. The new state fiscal year will begin on July 1. HCFA is pleased that each budget proposal includes a number of provisions that fund MassHealth and other key health programs, and advance consumer health interests. However, there are important differences between the two versions, and HCFA distributed the following statement to the legislative leadership indicating our priorities for the budget... 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 »

House Debates Budget Amendments: Here's Our List of Priorities

The state House of Representatives began its budget debate yesterday, for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1. Over 1000 amendments have been filed (see the budget and amendments here). As usual in the House, the amendments are being considered in groupings by subject matter. The health care bundle is expected to come up tomorrow or Thursday. Tonight, a group of HCFA citizen activists will fan out across the State House, meeting with Representatives to discuss HCFA's priorities. Here's some of our top amendents for support in the budget - we urge you to contact your Representative today... Read more »

Is MassHealth Really Unsustainable?

Administration officials from the Governor on down have been repeating the mantra over the past few months - MassHealth is "unsustainable."  Last Monday, EOHHS held a big public input session, titled, "Creating a Sustainable MassHealth Program." Yes, MassHealth takes up a large portion of the state budget (but not as large as you think). And yes, MassHealth has seen spending increases over the years (but what part of the health care system hasn’t)? But, does that make the MassHealth program unsustainable? Let’s look more closely at the facts. 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 »

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