A Healthy Blog

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


Got Coverage? 1,479 More Kids in MA Do Now!

It’s been a whirlwind month, but the first phase of the “got coverage?” Kids Enrollment Challenge is DONE! And thanks to the tireless efforts of 66 enrollment organizations statewide, HCFA is proud to announce that 1,479 previously uninsured children now have health coverage!! The end of the first phase was celebrated today at an event at the State House Grand Staircase, where state and federal leaders extended their gratitude to each of the participating organizations for their devotion and hard work over the last month to find and enroll at least 500 uninsured children. Nearly tripling our... Read more »

SCOs - "The best kept secret in health care in Massachusetts"

Today's MetroWest Daily News includes an op-ed arguing for paying more attention to SCOs - the Senior Care Options programs that provide integrated, patient-centered care to seniors who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. The op-ed, by two SCO leaders, John Baackes, CEO of Senior Whole Health and Robert Master, CEO of Commonwealth Care Alliance, rightly calls SCOs "the best kept secret in health care in Massachusetts." Read more »

Well, this is scary

Senator Brown should know that the "GOP Plan to Cut Medicaid Spending" is a dagger aimed right at Massachusetts. Here's our analysis from a few weeks ago: Read more »

Federal House Republican Budget: Disaster For America. Worse For Massachusetts

The US House Republican leadership unveiled their budget this morning. With callous cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the budget would be a disaster for America. For Massachusetts, it would be even worse. Yet Senator Scott Brown thanked Congressman Ryan, the House budget chair, and said "everything is on the table." He's introduced a balanced budget amendment that would require even deeper cuts. Read more »

Would Increased MassHealth Co-pays Reduce Costs? Evidence Says No.

Increasing copays and deductibles is usually the first choice when employers or public health programs look for ways to cut health care costs. MassHealth, for example, plans to increase prescription drug copays for low income people. But a comprehensive survey of research by Harvard’s Katherine Swartz for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Synthesis Project warns against this approach. The study concludes: Read more »

Ways and Means Hears From Admin Officials on Health Programs

The House and Senate Ways and Means Committees held their budget hearing on health programs this morning, and heard testimony from Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, and the state Medicaid Director, Terry Dougherty. In her testimony Secretary Bigby emphasized that the EOHHS will maintain its commitment to providing services and support to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable, despite budget cuts. Secretary Bigby noted that the Governor’s plan will maintain a commitment to advancing health reform, finding savings through re-procurement... Read more »

HCFA v. Romney: Kid's Dental Case Comes to a Successful End

[Our guest blogger is Clare McGorrian, attorney on the HCFA v. Romney case, who specializes in providing legal services to health care consumers, primarily in health insurance coverage and eligibility disputes.] Eleven years ago Health Law Advocates and Greater Boston Legal Services filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of MassHealth children who could not find a dentist. Last week, the court successfully ended its jurisdiction over the case (see Globe coverage). The suit, Health Care For All v. Romney, followed complaints to Health Care For All’s Help Line and a legislative report... Read more »

The Basics of MassHealth

This morning, the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI) released an updated version of its essential guide, The Basics of MassHealth (pdf). Read more »

Budget Part II - MassHealth Cuts Puzzlement

[This is our second report on the Governor's FY 12 budget proposal. Our earlier entry looked at public health.] The Governor released his recommended FY 2012 budget yesterday, and saving money in health care programs, particularly MassHealth, was a major focus. The budget is accompanied by detailed information from the administration (see the main budget page with links to everything). There are two somewhat overlapping budget policy papers from the administration, here and here. Together they start to explicate the administration’s take on health care in the budget. Read more »

The Health Care Case Against Question 3

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"266","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] As the video above says, Question 3 on the Massachusetts ballot next week would cut the state sales tax, devastating health care programs. Health Care For All urges a no vote on the Question 3 (and Question 1). An analysis by the Mass Taxpayers Foundation concluded that the measure would require a staggering $4.8 billion cut spread across the $16.9 billion in discretionary funding that could be cut. For human services, the report finds... Read more »


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