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

National Health Reform

National Health Reform is Good For Massachusetts - An Update

The federal health reform website, HealthCare.gov, has a wealth of information about the ACA and implementation. They just posted a comprehensive state-by-state summary of who has been helped by the implementation of the ACA so far. The Massachusetts page has an impressive catalog of impacts, including a summary of all the federal grant funds Massachusetts has received. Among the highlights: Read more »

EHB Is The New MCC

State officials have begun the process of determining which health plan will serve as the essential health benefits (EHB) benchmark plan for Massachusetts. The EHB refers to the set of services that many health plans will be required to cover beginning in 2014 pursuant to §1302 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It applies to all non-grandfathered health plans in the individual and small group markets sold both inside and outside of Exchanges, as well as to Medicaid benchmark plans. Read more »

Romney's Rock and Hard Place

MSNBC guest host Ezra Klein had a good story last night on Romney's political dilemma, featuring economist and Connector Board member Jonathan Gruber. As evidence spreads of the success of Massachusetts health reform, Romney can't acknowledge or take credit for the results. There's no mention of chapter 58 or "RomneyCare" anywhere on Romney's web pages. Watch: Read more »

ACT!! Coalition Proposes ACA Subsidized Insurance Framework

Implementing the ACA in Massachusetts is not necessarily an easy, straightforward process. Massachusetts will have many decisions to make, fitting the ACA overlay onto our chapter 58 base (see this BCBS Foundation chart for a list of many of those decisions). This week, the ACT!! Coalition sent a letter to EOHHS Secretary Bigby (pdf) with our preliminary recommendations on Massachusetts’ subsidized insurance framework under the Affordable Care Act. In line with the coalition’s principles, ACT!! believes that the ACA must be implemented in Massachusetts a way that: Read more »

The Task of Massachusetts: Spreading the Word About Reform

WaPo Wonkblog's Sarah Kliff found this group of questions about chapter 58 included the latest Harris poll on health reform attitudes. Read more »

What Santorum Means

This exchange from last Thursday's Florida Republican debate was the most extensive discussion of health care so far in the primary season:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkC7WnxQccM Romney gave a cogent, articulate defense of Massachusetts health reform (which of course goes just as well for national health reform under the ACA). Romney offered his standard defense of the individual mandate as reducing the number of "free riders" - "[I]f you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have... Read more »

[UPDATED] Covering All Legal Immigrants: Not $150 million this year, and not after next year, either

The state SJC just ordered the state to restore full Commonwealth Care coverage for legal immigrants. What's it going to cost? For lots of people, the $30 billion state budget is just lots of unimaginable big numbers. But for those those of us who pay attention to budget numbers, and understand the relative scope and costs of stuff, we want to correct a cost misconception that's been floating around the press. For example, the lede in today's Globe story says this: Massachusetts lawmakers must quickly come up with about $150 million to provide health insurance to tens of thousands of legal... Read more »

Some More Holiday Reading (non-comic book edition)

For the quiet week coming up, the Blue Cross Foundation and Mass Medicaid Policy Institute released some good wonkness to read and learn from. We're so fortunate as a policy community to have these institutions supplying high-quality materials to further the conversation: Read more »

Gruber's Health Care Reform Comic Book (no, Graphic Novel): A Review

[Note: HCFA Policy Coordinator Paul Williams is our resident comic book guy, and he penned this review of Connector Board member Jon Gruber's new comic book, Health Care Reform.] Peanut butter and chocolate, macaroni and cheese, Batman and Robin, all things that go great together. With the publication of Jonathan Gruber’s book “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why Its Necessary and How It Works” we can add graphic novels and health care policy to the list of great pairs. Read more »

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