A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform

Budget FY 2014, Round 1: House 1

Governor Patrick released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal today, which continues this administration’s strong commitment to ensuring access to affordable, quality health care for everyone in Massachusetts. Budgets have both a revenue side and a spending side. This budget uses both to improve the health of the Commonwealth and reduce health spending growth. Read more »

Employer Responsibility Redefined?

On Tuesday, Governor Patrick announced his second business-related legislative proposal of the 2013-2014 session (see press release). The proposal is part of the process of adapting Massachusetts' health care system to the coming Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition to freezing Unemployment Insurance (UI) rates for businesses, HD 162, “An Act to Support Employers in the Commonwealth” makes several changes that impact workers’ access to health coverage: Read more »

HCFA Looks Ahead to 2013

Happy New Year from all of HCFA (see our staff picture above)! The year 2013 will be a critical year for health care in Massachusetts. State government will be making numerous decisions that will directly impact the availability, cost and quality of the care that everyone depends on. Health Care For All will be there, making the sure the voices of consumers and patients are heard on Beacon Hill, and throughout the state. Among the key issues we anticipate focusing on for 2013 are: Read more »

… And Congratulations, Jean

The reshuffle of Gov. Patrick’s top cabinet officials has brought another committed and skilled person into a leadership position. We are pleased to hear that Jean Yang, currently the Connector’s Chief Financial Officer, will take the helm as the agency’s Executive Director upon Glen Shor’s move to Secretary of Administration & Finance. Jean has been a driving force in maintaining affordable coverage for Commonwealth Care enrollees during bleak state fiscal climates and has helped move Connector programs forward through a changing health policy environment. We know the Connector will... Read more »

It's A Wrap: Connector Board Votes to Keep State Mandate, Discusses BHP Alternative

Remember a year ago when we asked the question, "To BHP or not to BHP?" Well at the Dec. 13 Connector Board meeting, we learned the answer to that question. No BHP. Instead, we'll have a wrap. The core of the Connector Board discussion revolved around two big questions: Should the Commonwealth maintain its individual mandate policy in addition to the federal mandate required in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Given there is no federal guidance on the Basic Health Plan (BHP), what can the state do to ensure continuity and affordability of coverage for low-income residents who are not eligible... Read more »

Elizabeth Warren Named to US Senate Health Committee

Today the US Senate majority Democrats announced their committee assignments for the next Congress. While lots of attention was heaped on the appointment of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to the Banking Committee, we were thrilled to learn that she also was named to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, usually called the HELP Committee. Read more »

Feds Approve Massachusetts Exchange Plan

This afternoon, federal officials released a letter to Governor Patrick approving the Health Connector's application to be a federal health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. (see letter here (pdf), and federal HHS Secretary Sebelius blog post). Read more »

Call on Globe For A Correction: Obamacare REDUCES the Federal Deficit

From Boston Globe, 11/4/12 Did you see the Globe's Sunday Metro-front box, on the key positions of Senate candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren? Did you catch the huge mistake, in the very first line? Under the issue topic "deficit" (which is shorthand for how do we reduce the federal budget deficit), Brown lists "repeal Obama’s health care law" as the first entry. What's wrong with this picture? 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 »

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