A Healthy Blog

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

Prescription Drug Reform

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 »

Pharma Said No Drug Price Increases Over 10%. Guess What Happened Next.

The high cost of prescription drugs is a familiar story to consumers across America who struggle to pay for the medication on which they depend in order to get and stay well. The state's Health Polcy Commission found that prescription drug costs continue to be the fast rising cause of our state health care cost growth: 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 »

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 2018-2019 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. The proposed legislation includes the following proposals:   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 »

More Wining and Dining of Docs

Recently, a study (read about it in our post here, and see the Wall Street Journal chart at right) found an unsurprising correlation: doctors receiving free food from pharmaceutical companies are more likely to prescribe higher-priced brand-name drugs; even when the food costs less than $20. So of course, that's how the drug companies market their pills. Read more »

Drug Companies Providing Meals to Doctors: A Not-So-Tasty Policy

Why do pharmaceutical companies pay for doctors’ meals? The answer is simple – it is a not-so-subtle form of bribery designed to influence prescribing practices. If it didn’t work, it is hard to imagine why it would be done. A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine supports a fairly intuitive notion. Doctors who are wined and dined – even when it costs less than $20 – are more likely to prescribe brand name, highly expensive medications. Read more »

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