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

National Health Reform

National health reform is good for Massachusetts

Please Join Health Care For All and community leaders as we unite together in support of national health care reform. Along with patients, religious leaders, hospitals, health centers, providers, and the business community, Health Care For All will highlight why national health reform is critical for Massachusetts. National health reform will offer affordable coverage to tens of thousands more Massachusetts families, give tax credits to approximately 70,000 small businesses to help pay for the cost of health coverage for workers, and cut the cost of prescription drugs for hundreds of... Read more »

National health reform is good for Massachusetts

HCFA will be posting a blog-a-day about why national health reform is good for Massachusetts. These posts will include personal stories from people who have benefited from our state’s health reform law and how national health reform can help millions of others like them across the country. My name is Kate and I'm a member of Health Care for All's HelpLine. I’m also the family member of a cousin who died far too young because she couldn’t afford to pay for the health care she needed. This blog is dedicated to her. Since I joined the HelpLine in 2005, I’ve heard thousands of stories from people... Read more »

Don't Just Complain. Do Something.

All the hand-wringing about the "meaning" of the Scott Brown victory for health reform seems misplaced. First, polling of Massachusetts voters taken right after the election shows a very confused message. This blog post by Maggie Mahar is long, but is the best summary of the polling data. Bottom line: "the Massachusetts special election does not serve as a referendum on health care legislation. The voters who chose Brown chose him for myriad reasons. They say that they knew he opposed the legislation; about half of his voters counted this in his favor, while half counted it against him. Go... Read more »

“With all due respect Mr. Speaker, it’s not over 'till I say it’s over"

I've been waiting for months for the right time to post this video. Waiting until the absolute moment of greatest need. Today, our favorite blogger, Washington Post's Ezra Klein, broke it out and forced our hand, probably not even knowing its significance. So here it goes. (He did add the important fact that John "Bluto" Blutarsky was later elected to the United States Senate.) Read more »

Brown / Coakley and Massachusetts Health Reform

We always knew that national health reform policy was going to be very dependent on Massachusetts. From the very beginning, we heard that Washington policy path was following "Massachusetts Avenue." One Washington staffer said the goal was to do "Massachusetts, but better." And so the bills passed by both the House and Senate owe their policy basics to chapter 58. People with experience here - John McDonough, Jon Gruber, and even us, to some extent, played an important role and passed on our knowledge. Implementation, too, was always assumed to learn from our model. This Thursday and Friday,... Read more »

Affordability is the Key

As the House and Senate begin their negotiations over a final health reform bill, we want to repeat one of the key lessons of Massachusetts health reform: affordability is critical. HCFA joined with over 30 Massachusetts leaders to send a letter to the Congress and administration urging them to take the best aspects of the House and Senate bills to make coverage affordable. The letter was signed by more than 750 organizations, organizational leaders, congregations, clergy and local and state elected officials, from 46 states, representing more than 100 million people (see coverage in the... Read more »

Best News of the Decade: Bloggers Can Get on Late-Nite

Our friend, Washington Post health blogger Ezra Klein is on Olbermann and Maddow all the time. But this is the best platform ever. When's our turn?The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Read more »

Our Fair Share, Too

It's only fair. Under the original Senate health reform bill, states will get substantial federal assistance for increasing their Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level. Except for states that already cover people up to that level, like ... Massachusetts. So Senator Kerry spoke today at Children's Hospital Boston and announced that he has secured additional federal funds for Massachusetts in the Senate manager's amendment, which was adopted this morning. CBO estimates the total amount at $500 million, although there is some uncertainty around the total. Also speaking at the... Read more »

New Poetry Genre: "'Twas the Night Before #hcr"

Health reform is stimulating all kinds of creativity, particularly in the "poetry" department. A few weeks ago, there was a twitter storm of health care reform haiku. Of course, twitter's 140-character limit is ideal for haiku. You can read them all by searching twitter for "#hcr haiku." If I say so myself, I was proud of my contribution: Lieberman flip flops / No miracle in these days / Hanukkah shanda. Now a new genre has emerged, parodies of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," (officially titled, "A Visit from St. Nicholas.") While the final health reform vote has just been moved from... Read more »

Senator Kirk Cites HCFA Helpline

In a stirring Senate floor speech yesterday drawing on the legacy of Senator Kennedy, Senator Kirk again brought up the HCFA Helpline as an example of why we need health reform: Senator Kirk told the Senators about Carol, who was uninsured and suffered from seizures. Carol's story, taken from a HCFA blog post, continued: She learned about the assistance of Health Care For All, the Massachusetts organization dedicated to making quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone. She applied and was declared eligible for Commonwealth Care. She immediately went to see a specialist and was... Read more »


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