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

National Health Reform

Sen. Kirk: As the Senate prepared to vote..., my memory flashed back to my days as a young staffer working for Sen. Ted Kennedy...

Senator Paul Kirk has published his reflections on voting on health care reform. He cast his vote Saturday from Senator Kennedy's desk, and it surely weighed on him: Kennedy’s voice, his energy and his unique legislative skills are deeply missed as the Senate prepares, at long last, to act on this historic legislation. But I believe we should be mindful of his spirit and his commitment to this cause as the debate goes forward. Now is the time to pass health care reform and fulfill what he called “the cause of his life” for all Americans..... Read more »

Massachusetts Employer Coverage Success Cited in Senate Health Reform Bill

Is the individual mandate unconstitutional? Experts say no, but the far right keeps claiming the mandate goes beyond the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The Senate health reform bill includes a section to make the case that the mandate is allowed, and cites the experience of Massachusetts to prove the point. Read more »

Smart Jon Gruber Interview on Coverage Expansion Before Cost Control

Connector Board member and MIT economist Jon Gruber was interviewed today by Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein. In addition to the mention of Health Care For All, the interview shines lots of lights on how expanding coverage is the first step to getting serious about cost control: Klein: One of the peculiarities of the [national health reform] bill is that it actually "does" coverage. If the bill succeeds, then pretty much every American will have insurance. But it really only starts cost control. Coverage is more of an event. Cost control seems more like a process. Read more »

Thanksgiving is Now -- House Health Reform Vote

All 10 members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation voted for the House health bill last night (see national voting chart). Now they need to hear our gratitude and appreciation. It's time for thanks-giving. We are proud that health reform is based on the Massachusetts template and our success has given Washington confidence to go forward. We have been a testing ground for many of the ideas in the bill. Health reform is good for Massachusetts. The House bill will increase federal funding to Massachusetts’ Medicaid program by hundreds of million of dollars. It strengthens prevention... Read more »

This Makes Me Laugh

Now that I'm a Facebook regular (HCFA's page has 1,955 fans -- just 45 to go to meet our 2K goal! C'mon people!), I now find Slate's Obama's Facebook feed amusing: - Brian Rosman Read more »

Tell your congressional members: It’s time to deliver

On Tuesday, October 20th, we urge you to pick up the phone and make three critically important phone calls: 2 to your senators and 1 to your representative. Then encourage your networks of friends and family to do the same! On this Day of Action, tell your members, America needs health care reform. It’s time to deliver! We are in the middle of an important opportunity to weigh in with Congress to improve the provisions of the bill. Leaders in both the Senate and the House are in the midst of merging their respective bills with a goal to bring a bill to each floor for debate by the end of the... Read more »

Senator Kerry on Insurer Report

During today's health reform debate leading up to the vote in the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Kerry took on the flawed study by Price Waterhouse Coopers claiming health reform would increase premiums, linking it to the public option (source): Connector Board Member Jon Gruber played a key role yesterday in refuting the report as well. His analysis was printed in full in the NY Times health reform blog this morning. Read more »

The Massachusetts Miracle

"But perhaps the greatest miracle of all was that shortly before I found out I was sick, I had moved to Cape Cod, Mass., to intern at a radio station and work as a coffee shop barista. I had no medical insurance when I received my diagnosis, but miraculously the state's watershed universal health-care" law had recently gone into effect." Today's Washington Post features a dramatic first-person story by Ibby Caputo. At age 26, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and told that without treatment she would live six more weeks: Read more »

More Congressional Town Halls

This Columbus Day weekend, Congressman Tierney and Congressman Markey will hold town hall forums to discuss the need for health care reform for all Americans. They want to hear comments, answer questions and get feedback from their constituents about this important issue which has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of Americans. (UPDATE - Blue Mass Group live-blogged the Markey town hall) We need to remind our delegation of all the reasons why health reform needs to happen now. Will you attend these local events to support National Health Reform? Congressman Tierney’s... Read more »

Senator Kerry Fighting For Better Health Reform [UPDATE]

UPDATE - Tuesday 10:45 am - Washington Post blogger @EzraKlein tweets from the Senate Finance mark-up session, after Kerry's opening remakrs: Is anyone else surprised by the quietly important role Kerry is playing in hcr [health care reform]? The excise tax, for instance, was his proposal. The Senate Finance Committee begins its consideration of the national health reform bill on Tuesday. Committee members have filed hundreds of amendments (see lists here). The Republicans have lots of amendments on abortion and immigrants, of course. Senator Kerry submitted a number of important amendments... Read more »


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