A Healthy Blog

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


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 »

MassHealth Releases Impressive Draft Strategic Plan

Last week, MassHealth presented to a group of advocates their draft strategic plan (download pdf), a detailed presentation of the top priorities for the Commonwealth's Medicaid program. Medicaid Director Dr. Julian Harris emphasized that the document is still a work in progress, but MassHealth has allowed us to share the draft with the public. Read more »

Studies Look At Massachusetts Impact of Policy Choices

Admittedly, "Studies Look At Massachusetts Impact of Policy Choices" could be an entrant in a boring headline contest. At HCFA, we don't endorse candidates or take any partisan positions, but we do want our readers to understand the impacts of policy choices for Massachusetts health care. Hence this post. 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 »

Breaking the Boom-Bust MassHealth Funding Cycle

Last week, the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released another policy brief entitled Stabilizing MassHealth Funding: Options to Break the Recurring Cycle of Expansion and Contraction (pdf). MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid program) is counter-cyclical in nature. When state economic growth slows and people lose their jobs (and their employer-sponsored health insurance), the low-income population needing health care coverage from MassHealth grows. And, as the economy weakens, revenues available to cover the state share of the cost of MassHealth shrink, just as the need for coverage... 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 »

Report Highlights Massachusetts Success In Children’s Enrollment

A survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) showcased experiences of four states - Massachusetts, Alabama, Iowa, and Oregon - at the forefront of the nation’s recent gains in children’s health coverage. The report’s findings were presented at a briefing held today in Washington.   The study reported that Massachusetts is the leading state for covering children in health insurance. Citing state figures, the report highlighted the 99.5% coverage rate for children in the Commonwealth. The report concluded that state officials and... Read more »

Some More Good Stuff From MMPI

Kate Nordahl and the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute keep churning out more good stuff. Next up are two timely papers: Read more »

[UPDATED] Covering All Legal Immigrants: Not $150 million this year, and not after next year, either

The state SJC just ordered the state to restore full Commonwealth Care coverage for legal immigrants. What's it going to cost? For lots of people, the $30 billion state budget is just lots of unimaginable big numbers. But for those those of us who pay attention to budget numbers, and understand the relative scope and costs of stuff, we want to correct a cost misconception that's been floating around the press. For example, the lede in today's Globe story says this: Massachusetts lawmakers must quickly come up with about $150 million to provide health insurance to tens of thousands of legal... Read more »

BREAKING: Victory! Mass Supreme Judical Court Rules in Favor of Coverage for Legal Immigrants

The SJC just issued their opinion in Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, the case brought by Health Law Advocates contesting the denial of full Commonwealth Care benefits to legal immigrants who did not qualify for federal Medicaid reimbursement. The unanimous decision (link) requires the state to reinstate full coverage for all legal immigrants. This will restore coverage for over 40,000 [update: we think it's around 37,400] legal immigrants. Most are uninsured, with access to some care through the Health Safety Net program. The remainder are in the Commonwealth Care... Read more »


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