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

Prescription Drug Reform

Prescription Drugs

Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition Prescription drug prices continue to rise, increasing the cost of health insurance and placing a considerable burden on families as well as the state’s budget. Currently, there is little to no transparency when it comes to the actual costs required to produce a drug, and no mechanism or oversight to ensure that drugs are truly affordable for those who need them. As a result, pharmaceutical companies set arbitrary and opaque prices for drugs, and too many people in Massachusetts cannot access these drugs due to high costs. The MA... Read more »

A Day at the State House: Health Care Financing Committee Hears Testimony on Legislation to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs

Prescription drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them, and too many people in Massachusetts can’t afford the high cost of prescription drugs. Here at Health Care For All (HCFA), we know all too well – from real-life stories and statistical data alike – that this is true. That’s why HCFA is a leading member of the MA Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition, a broad-based coalition representing a wide range of stakeholders, including consumer advocates, seniors, children, individuals with disabilities, providers, provider groups, unions, faith-based groups, mental health organizations and... Read more »

An Rx for Public Health: Prescription Drug Affordability & Transparency

As many of us have experienced first-hand, taking a regular regimen of medication prescribed by a provider can have remarkable effects on the quality of our daily lives and our ability to build a healthy future for ourselves and those around us. Prescription drugs are critical to curing disease, managing medical conditions, controlling debilitating symptoms and helping us avoid the need for more serious and expensive care. In short, prescription drugs bring hope and improved health to individuals and families and contribute to the public health of the Commonwealth every day. Read more »

Consumers Groups Push for Strong Transparency Provisions in Health Care Bill

Health Care For All, along with MassPIRG, Health Law Advocates, Community Catalyst and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council recently wrote a letter on the issue of drug transparency to the conferees meeting to work out a final health care bill. We urged the Conference Committee to include strong transparency measures to help tackle the problem of skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Prescription drug costs are currently the fastest growing healthcare expense – by far. For both public and private plans, increases in pharmacy costs far outpace every other expense. Rising drug prices are... Read more »

HCFA Recommendations to Health Care Bill Conference Committee

With both the House and Senate having passed ambitious health care bills this session, now a joint House-Senate conference committee is hammering out the differences to reconcile the two bills for final passage. Health Care For All recently provided comments to the legislature on our recommendations for provisions  to reduce health care costs, protect consumers, and strengthen our state’s health care system. While Massachusetts has the highest insurance coverage rate in the country, there is still progress to be made to improve the quality and affordability of health care in the Commonwealth... Read more »

FY19 Health Care Budget Priorities

The Massachusetts Senate recently approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) state budget. The Senate version and the House version must now be reconciled through negotiation between the two chambers. Health Care For All (HCFA) has a number of budget priorities related to health care that have made it this far and should continue on to the final budget. To find HCFA’s full FY19 Conference Committee letter with detailed explanations of our positions, please click here. You can find summaries of each budget priority that HCFA supports below: 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 »

HCFA’s 2019-2020 Priority Legislation

HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and the Senate to file a broad package of legislation for 2019-2020: Reduce Prescription Drug Costs (H. 1133/S. 706, Representative Barber & Senator Lewis) Read more »

Guess What? Docs Prescribe Drugs They Are Paid To Promote.

ProPublica is a non-profit news group dedicated to public interest investigative journalism. Their reporters matched for the first time federal data on payments from drug companies to prescribers and records on drugs prescribed by doctors to their Medicare patients. Until now, this has been secret information, known to the drug industry, but not the public. The report exposed some troubling drugmaker marketing strategies. ProPublica looked into why expensive name brand drugs are prescribed so often when significantly cheaper generics are proven to be just as effective. By examining the... Read more »

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