A Healthy Blog

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

Massachusetts Budget

DOMA Decision Impacts Health Insurance, State Budget

Today's Supreme Court decision holding part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional will have a number of impacts on health insurance eligibility and costs for same-sex married couples. It also might impact the state budget. Attorney General Martha Coakley quickly put together today a FAQ page, at mass.gov/doma looking at many of these issues. It includes analysis and answers to questions like: Read more »

Senate Budget Ups Some Health Funds

After two long days (and long nights), the Senate finalized their budget for Fiscal Year 2014 (which starts in July), and in doing so brought some good tidings for health in Massachusetts. Perhaps the greatest win was in oral health – the Senate allocated $13 million to the MassHealth line item to restore coverage for dental fillings for MassHealth members. Senator Harriette Chandler led a group of senators to push for the increase. Limits in current coverage often force patients to choose between enduring months (or years) of dental pain due to untreated cavities, or undergoing the only... Read more »

Senate Budget Debate Starts Wednesday - Here's Our Amendment Recommendations

Tomorrow the state Senate will begin debating its version of the state budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1. Like the House budget did, the Senate Ways and Means version starts out with a strong commitment to building on the state's health coverage reforms through implementation of the ACA, and some substantial deficiencies in funding for health care programs. The best overview of the Senate budget comes, of course, from the Mass Budget and Policy Center. The overview notes the continued decline in support for public health: Read more »

House Budget Debate: Call Now For MassHealth Dental Coverage and Staffing

This week starts the budget process in the state House of Representatives. For the next 3-4 days, the House will deal with some 888 amendments. The full budget and amendments are here.  You can also download the "Amendment Book" which has the amendments summarized and categorized by topic. I counted 49 in the Health and Human Services category, another 27 in the Mental Health and Disabilities category, and 58 in the Public Health category. That's a lot. Read more »

House Budget: Funds ACA, Cuts Dental, Cuts Public Health. But It's Mostly About the Revenue.

It's all about the revenue. Yesterday the House released its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. With the House counting on much less revenue than the Governor called for, they used two strategies to bring the budget into balance: make lots of cuts, and use lots more one-time revenue sources. Although transportation and education face the biggest cuts compared to the Governor's proposal, there are some gaping holes in health care as well. Read more »

Non-Profit Network Holds Budget and Revenue Forums

The Mass Nonprofit Network is starting a series of forums this week to look at the state budget and the need for new revenue. The first forum is in Westborough for the Metrowest and central regions, and will be held this Friday. Other forums will be in Boston, Easton, Northampton, and Lowell over the next two weeks. Read more »

Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Brief Details Gov's Health Spending Plan

How does one follow the complex state budget process? As they did last year, the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI) will be issuing budget summaries produced by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in partnership with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. The briefs look at the health care coverage budget, focusing on MassHealth (Medicaid) and other subsidized health coverage programs. Read more »

Budget FY 2014, Round 1: House 1

Governor Patrick released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal today, which continues this administration’s strong commitment to ensuring access to affordable, quality health care for everyone in Massachusetts. Budgets have both a revenue side and a spending side. This budget uses both to improve the health of the Commonwealth and reduce health spending growth. Read more »

HCFA Looks Ahead to 2013

Happy New Year from all of HCFA (see our staff picture above)! The year 2013 will be a critical year for health care in Massachusetts. State government will be making numerous decisions that will directly impact the availability, cost and quality of the care that everyone depends on. Health Care For All will be there, making the sure the voices of consumers and patients are heard on Beacon Hill, and throughout the state. Among the key issues we anticipate focusing on for 2013 are: Read more »

For Your Mass Health Info File - New Reports on Budget Funding and Provisions

They read the bills, so you don't have to. The collaboration between the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute, Mass Law Reform Institute and the Mass Budget and Policy Center continues to provide us with great summaries and insight into the often arcane provisions enacted into law as part of the budget process. This stuff is complicated in Massachusetts for two reasons. First, in addition to an annual budget covering the fiscal year (starts on July 1), the legislature enacts each a number of additional, supplemental budget statutes during the year, including usually one after the fiscal year as... Read more »

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