A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform

President Comes To Town

Last week, on a day full of victories, the President of the United States visited Boston to defend the Affordable Care Act. He began his historic appearance at Faneuil Hall with the self-deprecating and not altogether untrue observation that his visit was not the biggest event of the day, given the Red Sox World Series game that night. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"278","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] The President’s appearance was capped off with a wonderful introduction by Governor Patrick, who, with... Read more »

Jon Stewart, Of Course

Last night Jon Stewart, of course, put the latest newsblork in the proper context. Go watch it. Read more »

Senator Warren: "Our experience in Massachusetts suggests that it might be prudent to take a deep breath"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=656bbzXAZsk At today's Obamacare hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren brought in the voice of experience - the Massachusetts health reform experience. In her question to federal CMS adminstrator Marylyn Tavenner, Senator Warren repeated a line from last week's Faneuil Hall event with President Obama and Governor Patrick: "Health reform in Massachusetts, like the Affordable Care Act, is not a website, it’s a values statement." She pointed out that enrollment in Massachusetts started slow and closed... Read more »

Enroll America Reports on Massachusetts Health Reform Education Campaign

Enroll America is the national non-profit working to to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act. They are focusing on states with the highest numbers of uninsured, as you would expect. But a number of their senior staff members were in Boston last week to learn about our success in Boston and share ideas and strategies. We also discussed what we are doing now to pick up the remaining uninsured and help those transitioning to ACA coverage. Read more »

Massachusetts Student Health Insurance is Getting Better

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves forward, Massachusetts policymakers continue to update state laws and regulations.  Recently, the Health Connector released proposed regulatory changes to the Massachusetts Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) (pdf). Since the 1988 Dukakis universal coverage law, students attending Massachusetts colleges and universities have been required to have health insurance. The state has required all colleges and university to offer a SHIP, and gives schools the discretion as to whether to require students to take the SHIP or keep or enroll in... Read more »

Governor Patrick: Health Care Reform Works in Massachusetts and It Will Work in America

Governor Patrick published a piece in the Huffington Post today with the self-explaining title, "Health Care Reform Works in Massachusetts and It Will Work in America." In the piece, the Governor goes beyond the statistics and presents some stories (that's how we roll, too): I met a young woman named Jaclyn, a cancer survivor who got life-saving care through our version of an exchange. She had no way to afford care before health care reform -- it saved her life. A self-employed man named Ken ignored his gastrointestinal symptoms for years because he couldn't afford to see a doctor or pay for... Read more »

Too Much Ongoing At Once Edition (plus a funny video at the end)

October 1 was full up in HCFAland. At the State House, the Public Health Committee held a hearing on a number of bills dealing with prescription drugs and related topics. HCFA advocated forcefully for restricting prescription drug marketing that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. A number of consumers also joined us in testifying in support of our bill to "remove barriers to cost-effective care." The bill, H. 2084, would eliminate co-pays and deductibles for cost-effective prescription medications and treatments in order to increase adherence, and help patients avoid further... Read more »

Obamacare in Massachusetts: Incremental Transformation

Understandably, there's lots media attention on October 1 as the D-Day for health reform. The health insurance marketplaces will be newly open in every state (of course, in  Massachusetts we've had our Health Connector since 2006),  and people can shop for both subsidized and unsubsidized coverage. But it's just the start of an open enrollment period that will continue through next March. Even if someone enrolls on October 1, coverage doesn't begin until January. Still, October 1 is a critical date. For us in Massachusetts, though, October 1 is more of a milestone along an evolutionary path... Read more »

It’s World Contraception Day!

[Today's guest blog is by Erica Brunner, former HCFA staffer and now a leader at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.] In the past, laws like those that prevented unmarried women from accessing contraception were the main barrier women faced in controlling their health and bodies. However, in recent years the cost of contraception and office visits necessary to obtain a prescription have resulted in a financial burden that can be as high as $600 a month out-of-pocket—a barrier for many women to access basic reproductive health care. Read more »

Texas vs. Massachusetts: Their Best Is Our Worst

Rapper Nas has spit a great rhyme in his song Make the World Go Round: I'm a rare dude, I'm a wonder, your best success is my worst blunder Today, a post on Health Affairs blog, Plano, Texas Vs. Revere, Massachusetts: Sorting Through The Differing Causes And Durations Of Uninsurance made the same point in the realm of uninsurance rates. The worst in Massachusetts equals the best in Texas: Read more »

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