A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform

Blue Cross Foundation Updates ACA Implementation Chart

The Mass Blue Cross Foundation has helpfully maintained an ACA Tracking Tool, listing the various decision points facing Massachusetts as we implement the Affordable Care Act. The chart is the best snapshot of the myriad of complicated considerations and issues facing state policymakers. Even though the ACA is modeled after our Chapter 58 blueprint, the details vary considerably, and shoehorning the ACA into the Massachusetts context requires substantial policy alterations and decisions. The chart was just updated - you can get the new version from here. The chart includes links to documents... Read more »

Mass Receives Federal Innovation Grant To Advance Payment Reform

The federal CMS announced today that Massachusetts is one of 6 states awarded a State Innovation Models initiative grant (press release, and grant information). The Massachusetts award is for a not shabby $44 million. Read more »

Widmer and Lord Bring Mass Health Reform Lessons To Michigan

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59602758] Last week, the University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation brought together key business leaders from Massachusetts and Michigan and experts from the University of Michigan to explore lessons from Massachusetts' experience with health reform and what may be ahead as the Affordable Care Act is implemented in Michigan. Read more »

Planning Underway for Connector Version 2.0

The Health Connector is holding steady as they prepare for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yesterday, the Connector Board voted on the draft 2013 Affordability Schedule, approved plans for the FY2014 Commonwealth Care renewal, and officially launched the 2014 Seal of Approval process. Materials from the meeting are here, and our detailed report is after the break. Read more »

Esquire: The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed (Updated)

Last September we wrote about the crisis of uninsured veterans. A national study we helped with found that 1 in 10 veterans are uninsured (for more statistics, see this amazing graphic, excerpted below): Read more »

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 »

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