A Healthy Blog

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

Massachusetts Budget

House Budget Debate: HCFA Priorities

The House budget debate turns to health care-related issues today. For the past week HCFA and the coalitions we help lead have been pounding the halls of the State House seeking support for budget amendments that strengthen our health care system and protect access to affordable coverage. We have also opposed a number of amendments that would weaken our important restrictions on inappropriate prescription drug marketing. Here are some of the issues we have been working on: Read more »

Budget Prep: House Ways and Means Budget Analysis

Next week the House begins its debate on the FY 2012 budget. HCFA is supporting a number of amendments to improve access to health care in Massachusetts, and we are opposing a number of amendments that would hurt our health care system. Look for a full report on Monday. But to tide us over the weekend, look at the Mass Budget and Policy Centers analysis of health care access program spending in the House Ways and Means budget that will be the basis for debate next week. Bottom Line: Read more »

Outreach, Education, and Enrollment – Key Components of Health Reform

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation has just released its fifth Health Reform Toolkit. This final toolkit of the series (pdf) focuses on education, outreach, and enrollment strategies that helped usher in Massachusetts health reform’s success of covering over 98% of its residents. After passage of Chapter 58, state agencies created a statewide, coordinated outreach strategy that was guided by two imperatives: 1) to build on—and leverage—existing functions, systems, and resources to the greatest extent possible and 2) to identify and utilize all available channels and “... Read more »

One-Two From Patrick Adminstration

This week the Patrick administration reaffirmed its commitment to health care in the Commonwealth. First, the Governor's State of the Commonwealth speech focused on payment and delivery system reforms that will stem the rising costs of health care: Read more »

FY 2012 Budget Process Enters Final Stages – HCFA Weighs In

With the Senate passing its version of the FY 2012 State Budget last week, we are getting close to the end of a this year's long journey.  Both the House and Senate have named conferees (Senators Brewer, Baddour, and Knapik; Representatives Dempsey, Kulik, and DeMacedo) who will work out differences between the versions passed by both bodies. Below is a summary of some of the specific issues that HCFA is raising to the conferees.  The Conference Committee budget is expected to be completed and sent to the Governor by the end of the month. Prescription Drugs Read more »

Senate Budget Day 2 – Getting to the Good Stuff

As the Senate winds down it’s work for the second (and probably last day) of debate on the FY 2012 State Budget, we can look back and take stock of how some key health issues made out. Children’s Mental Health was a big winner, with the Senate increasing funding for child and adolescent mental health services, and including language that requires commercial insurers to pay their fair share for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatric Access Project (MCPAP). Big thanks to Senator John Keenan for doing the heavy lift on both of these amendments. Read more »

FY 2012 Senate Budget Debate – Day 1

As the Senate begins to wrap up day 1 of the FY 2012 Budget debate, a quick recap. Anyone who wasn’t in the gallery (or watching online) at 10 this morning missed quite a performance of the National Anthem by Senator DiDominico’s son’s preschool class. I can think of some professional singers who could learn a thing or two about singing the Star Spangled Banner from this group of 4 and 5 year olds. But I digress. For the most part, today’s debate dealt with issues other than health care. One exception was Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s amendment closing the tax loophole on non-cigarette... Read more »

Senate Budget Update and Amendment Guide

Tomorrow (Wednesday), the state Senate takes up its version of the budget for fiscal year 2012. Today, the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute issued its analysis (pdf) of the Senate budget proposal for MassHealth and other health care programs. Highlights: There are some key differences between the SWM budget proposal and the final House budget proposal. In particular, SWM included: Read more »

House Restores Funding for CommCare Bridge

Last night, the House voted in favor of the consolidated Health & Human Services amendment, which included $25 million for Commonwealth Care Bridge, the health coverage program for legal immigrants who were denied Commonwealth Care coverage beginning in the summer of 2009. This funding will allow the program to continue for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2012, with the possibility of additional funding to fund Bridge through the second half of the fiscal year. Thank you to Representatives Cabral and Toomey for their leadership on this issue, and to Representatives Balser, Basile,... Read more »

House Budget: Good News/Bad News/Good News

Some items from day 2 of the House budget debate and votes on amendments: Read more »


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