A Healthy Blog

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


Some More Holiday Reading (non-comic book edition)

For the quiet week coming up, the Blue Cross Foundation and Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released some good wonkness to read and learn from. We're so fortunate as a policy community to have these institutions supplying high-quality materials to further the conversation: Read more »

To BHP or not to BHP? That is the Question.

Today, Secretary Bigby convened the fifth in a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation in Massachusetts (see slides from today’s meeting). Read more »

State Releases Draft Duals Proposal

The process for improving care for disabled adults in Massachusetts took a step forward yesterday, as EOHHS and the Office of Medicaid released their proposal to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Entitled “State Demonstration to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Individuals” it seeks to fully integrate the delivery and financing of Medicare and Medicaid services for dual eligible disabled adults who are between the ages of 21 to 64. Detailed information is on the state's duals website: mass.gov/masshealth/duals. Some key points in the proposal are: Read more »

Untangling Medicaid Myths

It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it: "clear away some of the misconceptions that muddy the debate about the future of Medicaid." That best someones in the state to do it are Kate Nordahl, director of the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute and Sarah Iselin of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Read more »

New Required Reading: MassHealth Facts, Trends and National Context

This morning, the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI) released an updated version of its essential guide, MassHealth: The Basics (pdf), prepared by the UMass Medical Center for Health Law and Economics.  In addition to an overview of MassHealth program and enrollment trends, this version includes a lot more colorful charts and perspective on how MassHealth measures up against other state Medicaid programs. Key takeaways: Read more »

HCFA Says No To Medicaid Cuts in Springfield Republican

Sunday's Springfield Republican included an op-ed by HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, calling on Washington's deficit reduction "Super Committee" to reject cuts in Medicaid and other health programs for the vulnerable. Springfield's Congressman Richard Neal is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over Medicaid. The Ways and Means Committee will be making its recommendations to the Super Committee this week. Here's the op-ed: Viewpoint: Cuts in health care will eventually cost us all Published: Sunday, October 09, 2011 By Amy Whitcomb Slemmer... Read more »

Protecting Medicaid

The LA Times and the Politico's tick-tocks on the final stages of the debt ceiling deal have this great detail: Late Saturday, a new demand from Republican negotiators stunned White House officials. In a conference call with senior administration aides, McConnell's staff noted that the deal called for sharp cuts in military spending as part of the trigger. The Republican staff members said that getting votes on their side of aisle for the bill would be difficult because of that. As a sweetener, the Republicans asked, would the White House agree to add Medicaid cuts to the trigger? Talking on... Read more »

Let Scott Brown Know What You Think

Last week, we called on Senator Scott Brown to come down on the side of protecting Medicaid and Medicare in the ongoing budget and debt fights. The Globe had reported that Senator Brown "hasn’t yet taken a firm position. ‘Senator Brown is reviewing the various proposals that are out there,’ said spokeswoman Marcie Kinzel.” Nothing's changed. Your calls and emails are still critical. The Blue Mass Group blog has pointed out that Senator Brown has still not taken a position on the debt ceiling alternatives: Read more »

Weekend Updates: Medicaid Rally, Immigrant Court Case, McDonough Book

1. Rally Calls on Senator Brown to Support Medicaid: Last week HCFA joined with 1199SEIU, the Boston Center For Independent Living and other groups to firmly call on Senator Brown to protect Medicaid in the debt ceiling and budget fights. The Read more »

Welcome to MassHealth, Dr. Harris

Today is a big day for MassHealth -- Dr. Julian Harris begins his new job as Medicaid Director. He most recently treated patients at Southern Jamaica Community Health Center and Cambridge Health Alliance. Dr. Harris has a long list of experiences that he will bring to the agency including working for World Bank Institute AIDS program, health consultant at McKinsey & Company, and Co-Director of the Boston chapter of advocacy group Doctors for America. Dr. Harris currently serves on the Health Reform Task Force of the Massachusetts Medical Society and is a member of the Quality and... Read more »


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