A Healthy Blog

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

Prescription Drug Reform

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 »

Contact Your Representative - HCFA's House Budget Amendments

The state House of Representatives released their draft budget this week. The budget funds the state's MassHealth and other health programs, and includes many provision supported by HCFA. Our friends at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute released an outstanding summary of the provisions affecting low income residents, including MassHealth and other health concerns. House budget debate starts on April 24. Read more »

"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 »

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 »

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