A Healthy Blog

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

Oral Health

Governor Baker Releases 2016 Budget Proposal; Health Care For All Responds

Governor Baker released is first budget proposal today, for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts this July 1. You can read the budget bill and supporting materials here, and see the video of the press briefing. Like any budget, there's a lot to digest, and we'll have more to say in the coming weeks. Here's our initial statement distributed to the press:   Statement from Health Care For All's Executive Director AMY WHITCOMB SLEMMER REGARDING THE GOVERNOR'S FY 2016 BUDGET PROPOSAL   Read more »

Speak Up to Support Full Oral Health Benefits in MassHealth

Loyal readers of the Healthy Blog know: oral health is health, and dental insurance is health insurance. Cuts to MassHealth adult dental benefits are bad for health, bad for employment, and bad for long-term state spending. Yet in 2010, benefits in the MassHealth adult dental program were significantly cut. Currently, the only oral health services covered for adult MassHealth members are cleanings, extractions, and fillings. The result is damaging to health and quality of life in so many ways, as WGBH documented last year. Take Harriotte Hurie Ranvig, a MassHealth member who is 67, blind, and... Read more »

FY19 Health Care Senate Budget Amendments Review

Just last week, the Massachusetts Senate released their budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1 of this year. Senators will be debating and voting on many amendments in the short term, including a number of important health care related amendments.  HCFA is supporting a number of amendments that will improve access to affordable and quality health care coverage; there are also some proposed amendments we oppose that would move our state backwards. With debate in the Senate starting, it is critical that your Senator knows how constituents feel about these critical health... Read more »

FY19 Health Care Budget Amendments Review

On April 23, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will begin voting on the state’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1 of this year. Representatives will consider 1400 amendment proposed by Representatives, including a number of important health-care related amendments. HCFA is supporting a number of amendments that will improve access to affordable and quality health care coverage; there are also some proposed amendments we oppose that would move us backwards. With debate in the House starting, it is crucial that your Representative knows how constituents feel about... Read more »

Senate Passes Comprehensive Health Care Bill

Last week, the state Senate considered over 150 amendments proposed to their comprehensive health care cost control package, titled the HEALTH Act, for Health Empowerment and Affordability while Leveraging Transformative Health care (see our initial thoughts on the bill here). After spending two full days discussing and voting on amendments, the Senate approved the bill right at midnight on November 9. The final Senate bill, incorporating all the amendments, is expected to be numbered S. 2211, and so should be available online here. Read more »

Senate Bill Moves Massachusetts Toward Oral Health Equity

Despite being completely preventable, dental disease is a major cause of illness in the US. Millions suffer from painful untreated dental issues due to an inability to access dental care, which impacts their ability to eat, talk, gain or retain employment and maintain good overall health. Low income children and families, older adults, people with disabilities and communities of color face the greatest barriers to accessing care. Dental access is a severe problem in Massachusetts. A 2016 Massachusetts Health Policy Commission study highlighted the severe access problem for low-income people.... Read more »

Health Care For All Letter to Senate Finance Committee in Opposition to Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal Proposal

The Graham-Casidy proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act seems to have stalled, with Republican senators expressing public opposition, but the defeat of repeal isn't guaranteed.  Public pressure needs to be maintained to keep these senators accountable and to pressure other senators to join in opposing the Graham-Cassidy plan.  Read more »

Oral Health Integration: Case studies from across the care delivery spectrum

Dental-medical integration is a response to decades of historic separation between two healthcare professions. The system has adapted to delivering care to people as two independent segments – one part mouth, one part everything else. But the thing is, our mouth doesn’t know it is distinct from our body and we’re the healthiest when we understand (and respect) the connection between our oral and overall health. Read more »

Oral Health Integration Case Studies Policy Brief - June 2017

Case studies illustrating key considerations for medical and dental integration. Read more »

As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist?

Anh Vu Sawyer, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts and Health Care For All's supporter authored an op-ed that was published today on the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. In this piece, she shares her struggle to access dental care and her take on why oral health integration is crucial to improve access to preventive care especially for the immigrant community in the state. As I See It: Flying to Asia to see a dentist? As a director for the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, I am quite concerned about the health care disparities my... Read more »

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