A Healthy Blog

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


Kids at Risk to Fall Between Health Reform Cracks

On the 21st floor of Ashburton Place this morning in a small room boasting a great view of the city, hard-core children’s health access advocates gathered to testify at a Medicaid regulatory hearing about Chapter 58 (Health Reform) changes to the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) that may leave some kids without health coverage rather than improving access opportunities as the health reform law intended to accomplish. (You can see the draft regs by clicking here.) Read more »

HCFA v. Romney -- One Year Later

In 2000, HCFA filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts charging that the MassHealth dental program for kids violated federal law. On July 14, 2005, Federal District Judge Rya Zobel agreed with us, and ordered the Commonwealth to work with us to develop a workable remediation plan. Our crack law firm, Health Law Advocates, has carried this effort every step of the way. They have put out a brief overview of progress made in the past year. See below: One year after a federal judge ruled that Massachusetts had “fallen far short of meeting statutory... Read more »

A Decade of Progress on Kid's Health Access

Ten years ago this month, Massachusetts passed a law committing to quality, affordable health insurance coverage for all kids. Three months ago, Massachusetts built on and expanded that commitment with passage of the new health reform law, Chapter 58. In between, we've had ups and downs. Looking ahead, there's more work to be done. Today, we took a breather to celebrate and reflect on past, present, and future. We had a great celebration, with lots of special friends. Here's the State House News account of the event, by Priscilla Yeon: Read more »

Details on MassHealth Citizenship Documentation Requirements

Neil Cronin and Vicki Pulos as Mass. Law Reform Institute have prepared a memo on the new citizenship documentation requirements facing MassHealth -- and all Medicaid clients nationally -- beginning on July 1. Click here to obtain their memo. Here's their summary judgment on this requirement so far: We believe that the Massachusetts Office of Medicaid is working hard to implement this new federal requirement in the most reasonable fashion that it can. However, we remain concerned that there will be problems for some MassHealth applicants and recipients. We hope this memo will help you... Read more »

Celebrating a Decade of Progress for Kid's Health Access

Ten years ago this month, the Massachusetts Legislature overrode a veto by then Governor Bill Weld to make a promise of universal coverage for all children in Massachusetts. It's been a wild ten years with ups and downs. Lots of progress and lots of continuing challenges. On Monday, July 17, we'll consider the progress of the past ten years in expanding coverage to all kids in Massachusetts in a morning celebration at the State House, Great Hall, 9am to 12 noon. Click here for more details. We'll also spend time looking ahead to consider what are the next steps in creating the best... Read more »

Romney Vetoes Health Access Priorities

This morning Governor Romney took out his veto pen and whacked away at the state budget for fiscal year 2007 (which started on July 1). In general, the health reform access programs were not affected, although the Governor did veto $114 million in payments to hospitals and community health centers that were connected with the MassHealth waiver. About $75 million in MassHealth spending was cut, mostly for particular providers. However, the Governor did find and veto most of the smaller initiatives we had been working on in the budget. Among the vetoes and spending reductions were: Read more »

FY07 Budget Approved by Legislature

The conference committee finished work on the FY 07 budget at 6:30am this morning and rushed it to a vote in both chambers today, where it was approved overwhelmingly. The Governor now has 10 days to submit vetoes, and we expect many. Here is a quick summary of health related items adopted today. Medicare Part D Safety Net Extended!: The budget included extension and clarification of a law that allows Medicare Part D enrollees who also receive MassHealth or Prescription Advantage to receive medications through those programs if Medicare Part D does not work for them. Almost 200 people a day... Read more »

New Report on MassHealth and MA Budgets

A new report from the MA Medicaid Policy Institute and the Mass Budget and Policy Center seeks answers to how much MassHealth has been responsible for budget problems over the past years. Click here to obtain the report and a summary. Read more »

Senate Overrides Veto #7: "...my good Lord you just rave about Bill Clinton..."

This afternoon, the State Senate override the second to last of Gov. Romney's eight vetoes of section of the MA Health Reform Law (Chapter 58); the House has already overridden all eight. This one restores MassHealth coverage for low income elderly and disabled LEGAL immigrants. Minority Leader Sen. Brian Lees has been holding up consideration of the override for some time. Senate vote to override 34-5. Done deal. Here's the State House News account of the debate -- Sen. Travaglini asked if there was objection to taking up the vetoed Section 27 of the health care bill. There was no objection... Read more »

Health Reform Implementation: Let Us Now Praise the Romney Administration

Regular readers will recognize our non-reticence in taking the Romney Administration to task whenever we think they're wrong. So let's give credit where credit it due. Today, Dep. Medicaid Director Stephanie Anthony gave a presentation at the Blue Cross Foundation on executive branch implementation of health reform (Chapter 58). Bottom line -- lots and lots of difficult implementation challenges and the professionals at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services are doing a darn good job keeping this huge challenge on track. Click here for the powerpoint presentation on Chapter 58... Read more »


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