A Healthy Blog

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

Prescription Drug Reform

"We know first hand how drug costs are forcing residents to make choices that are not good for their health."

The legislature's Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a session last week in Springfield, looking at the impact of skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.  Among those speaking was HCFA Executive Director, Amy Whitcomb Slemmer. She brought real-life examples of the how high drug costs are hurting people in Massachusetts: Read more »

More Thoughts on the CHIA Report ("A blip, not a bloop")

The headline leads today's Globe's front page: Health care costs jump, a setback for Mass. There's no question that today's report from CHIA, with its topline finding of a 4.8% per capita growth in total health care spending in 2014, might lead to the perception that our progress in controlling health care cost growth has hit a bump. Certainly 4.8% exceeds the state's goal of holding spending growth to 3.6% or less. But digging into the report, there's a complex mix of good and bad news, and the report defies simplistic conclusions. So here are a few of our takeaways: Read more »

Governor Baker Vetoes "Academic Detailing" Funds in Budget; We Call on Legislature to Override Veto

On Friday afternoon, Governor Baker issued his line-tem vetoes for the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which started on July 1. One of the vetoes took us by surprise: "Academic Detailing" is the somewhat obscure name for a valuable, money-saving state program. Here's how we've explained it before:  Read more »

New Report: Learn the Numbers and Meet the People Hurt by High Health Care Costs

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation just released a blockbuster report on the impact of high health costs on Massachusetts consumers. The stark conclusion should have strong policy implications: Read more »

House Debates Budget Amendments: Here's Our List of Priorities

The state House of Representatives began its budget debate yesterday, for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1. Over 1000 amendments have been filed (see the budget and amendments here). As usual in the House, the amendments are being considered in groupings by subject matter. The health care bundle is expected to come up tomorrow or Thursday. Tonight, a group of HCFA citizen activists will fan out across the State House, meeting with Representatives to discuss HCFA's priorities. Here's some of our top amendents for support in the budget - we urge you to contact your Representative today... Read more »

Globe opines on Employer Responsibility and Drug Price Transparency

The Boston Globe ran two opinion pieces yesterday on employer responsibility in health care and the need for increased transparency in prescription drug pricing, both of which Health Care For All supports Read more »

HCFA’s 2017-2018 Priority Legislation

With the launch of a new legislative session, we at HCFA are excited to announce a new legislative agenda that advocates for a more effective and consumer friendly health care system here in the Bay State. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here.  The proposed legislation includes the following proposals: Reduce Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs by eliminating cost-sharing for high-value services and drugs such as insulin, asthma inhalers, and... Read more »

Thanks Obama: Drug Spending Up, But Drug Co-pays Down

National trends mean the rising cost of prescription drugs remain a driving factor of rising medical costs. In the preliminary findings of the annual Cost Trends and Market Performance report released by the Health Policy Commission (HPC), it is made apparent that a significant portion of growing medical expenditures in Massachusetts can be attributed to increased spending on prescription drugs. The HPC found that spending on prescription drugs increased by 8.8% from 2014 through 2015. Additionally, prescription drugs now constitute 17.2% of commercial healthcare spending in the Commonwealth... Read more »

HCFA Executive Director in Globe Letters today: Take Action on Drug Prices

Today's Boston Globe's lead letter-to-the-editor is from Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, HCFA's Executive Director. The letter is call for action on high prescription drug prices, exemplified this week by the outrageous price increases Mylan is charging for their EpiPen injectible drug for allergic shock:     Read more »

Cool Infographic on Promoting High-Value Care

When high-value care is delivered effectively, everybody wins. Patients experience better health outcomes, payers save money in the long run, and providers are better able to care for their patients. But the system needs to help patients focus on high-value care. At HCFA, we are committed to breaking down barriers to high-value care. Our "No Co-Pay bill" would eliminate cost-sharing for high-value preventive care, like asthma inhalers or hypertension drugs. The Health Connector's decision last month to eliminate copays for medication-assisted treatment for addiction reflected a similar... Read more »

Pages

Subscribe to Prescription Drug Reform