A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform

To BHP or not to BHP? That is the Question.

Today, Secretary Bigby convened the fifth in a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation in Massachusetts (see slides from today’s meeting). Read more »

Must Reading: Berwick's Reply

In a talk at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement annual forum this week, Don Berwick encapsulated his wisdom of how health care change can happen, his rage at the politics and cynicism that accompanied his work at CMS, and his optimism for a more humane and efficient health care system. I'd strongly urge everyone to read the entire speech. It's so hard to pick out the highlights, but here are some excerpts: Read more »

The Herald's Flip Flop

It's amusing to read a Herald columnist fulminate about a state agency showing flexibility and respectfully treating people as individuals. It's even more amusing to recall the Herald's editorial position on the individual mandate. Before the mandate became part of "ObamaCare," the Herald understood how requiring individuals to take responsibility where appropriate - enforced through the tax system - was good policy: “The governor's proposal to make coverage mandatory for individuals - while helping them piece it all together - should be part of the solution. ... An individual mandate that... Read more »

News Flash: ACA Modeled on Chapter 58!! (Video Update)

We've always known, and been mighty proud, of the role Massachusetts health reform played in providing a test bed for national reform. As the RomneyCare/ObamaCare political wars heat up (see post below), NBC investigative reporter Michael Isikoff pulled White House meeting records that show a stream of Bay State Health reform veterans helping the White House understand and craft health reform: Read more »

HCFA Says No To Medicaid Cuts in Springfield Republican

Sunday's Springfield Republican included an op-ed by HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, calling on Washington's deficit reduction "Super Committee" to reject cuts in Medicaid and other health programs for the vulnerable. Springfield's Congressman Richard Neal is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over Medicaid. The Ways and Means Committee will be making its recommendations to the Super Committee this week. Here's the op-ed: Viewpoint: Cuts in health care will eventually cost us all Published: Sunday, October 09, 2011 By Amy Whitcomb Slemmer... Read more »

A federal escape valve for closed enrollment

Today I spoke with a man who has been put into a desperate situation caused by a hole in our health care system. Jim has been on Commonwealth Care for the past couple of years. He recently completed an annual renewal form for his coverage. MassHealth determined that he was no longer qualified for Commonwealth Care. The MassHealth Enrollment Center told him it was because he is now earning too much to qualify. Read more »

MA Receives Funding to Prevent Infections

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has received federal ACA funds to continue its life-saving work on preventing healthcare-associated infections. An estimated 34,000 healthcare-associated infections cost Massachusetts up to $473 million per year. Read more »

State Convenes ACA Implementation Advisory Council

Former DHCFP Commissioner David Morales once used an an analogy to make the point that Massachusetts' implementation of the ACA is easier than in other states. We just have to do a renovation, while other states have to do new construction. But it's not clear to me which is more difficult. Massachusetts has major, complex issues to figure out. A key goal is to not lose the gains we have made through Chapter 58. Affordable Care Act stakeholders in Massachusetts have a seat at the state implementation planning and design table. Last Friday afternoon was the first meeting of the Subsidized... Read more »

Weekend Updates: Medicaid Rally, Immigrant Court Case, McDonough Book

1. Rally Calls on Senator Brown to Support Medicaid: Last week HCFA joined with 1199SEIU, the Boston Center For Independent Living and other groups to firmly call on Senator Brown to protect Medicaid in the debt ceiling and budget fights. The Read more »


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