A Healthy Blog

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


States Continue Moving to Expand Coverage

Conventional wisdom suggests an economic downturn puts the lid on state health access reform processes. Not true everywhere -- from today's Kaiser Health Policy Report: Read more »

Progress Report on State Health Access Reform

My Community Catalyst colleagues, Michael Miller & Christine Barber, and I provide a "Progress Report on State Health Access Reform" as a Health Affairs web exclusive out for release today. We found that 39 states had enacted laws in 2006 and 2007 to expand coverage for uninsured persons; 13 states have tried to do comprehensive reforms in addition to Massachusetts and Vermont -- none have yet to succeed.John McDonough Read more »

California Health Reform Plan Is Dead

Click here for the letter by CA Senate President Don Perata to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabio Nunez throwing in the towel after the Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 against with 3 abstentions. And click here for the Health Access California blog -- the best source of information on CA health access reform. Read more »

If You’re Going to Sa-Cra-Mento, Be Sure to Wear – A Flak Jacket and a Helmet

Sacramento: It was a dicey scene at California’s State Capitol on Wednesday as about 500(?) gathered at a public hearing of the State Senate’s Health Committee to testify for and against the health reform bill advanced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabio Nunez, and approved by the State Assembly late last month. Schwarzenegger and Nunez have already started the process to certify an initiative for the 11/08/08 state ballot to approve financing for the scheme, which includes a $1.75 cigarette tax, payroll assessments as high as 6.5% on employers who don’t cover their... Read more »

Man Bites Dog Dept: CA Single Payer Advocate Endorses CA Health Reform

Check out this blog for an analysis by Stephen D. Schear, self-described longtime California activist for a Canadian-style single payer health care system. He’s come to the conclusion the Schwarzenegger/Assembly health plan now being considered by the California Senate deserves support – from a pro-single payer perspective. One of many money quotes: Read more »

A Surprising San Francisco Treat

Last week, we reported that San Francisco's "play or pay" assessment on employers to fund part of that City's coverage expansion was overturned by a federal judge on ERISA grounds -- click here for that post. A drearily familiar pattern by federal courts overturning such requirements. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a federal appeals court looks quite likely to overturn the lower court ruling and uphold the San Francisco assessment. That would be welcome, surprising, and win the issue a guaranteed ticket to the US Supreme Court. Game on... Read more »

Fed Court Overturns Key Part of "Healthy San Francisco" Coverage Plan -- ERISA

Click here for San Francisco Chronicle article. Yesterday, US District Court Judge Jeffrey White overturned a key portion of the Healthy San Francisco program which is designed to provide access to health services for at least 80,000 uninsured city residents. The portion struck down requires most employers to either provide health insurance to workers or pay a tax to the City to finance the program (tax levied on for profit businesses with 20+ workers and non-profits with 50+ workers). The program started this year enrolling some uninsured with incomes under 100% of the federal poverty... Read more »

Patience Helps in Comprehensive Health Reform Efforts

NYTimes -- click here -- surveys the slow pace of comprehensive health reform efforts across the nation, with special focus on California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania: Though the governors of three big states — California, Illinois and Pennsylvania — proposed sweeping plans to restructure health care this year, none will finish 2007 with bills passed and signed. In each state, the initiatives confronted entrenched opposition from insurance and other business lobbies that made it far more difficult to build a consensus for change than in the smaller New England states that acted in recent years... Read more »

A Double Dose of Prescription Drug News

Good news, bad news. In the holiday spirit, let's start with the good: Front page Boston Globe coverage today of the decision by UMass Memorial Center, one of the state's largest health systems: Read more »

California Dreamin' -- 64% Like New Plan

Yes, dammit, we're unshakable optimists here at HCFA. And we are more than heartened looking at the poll numbers of the early reactions of the California public to the health reform breakthrough approved by the Assembly this past week -- 64 to 26 percent favorable. Click here for poll results story. According to the poll, 74% of Democrats support the bill, while 52% of Republicans and 59% of independent voters support the measure. At least 55% of voters in all age groups support the legislation, and at least 60% of male and female voters support the overhaul plan, as well as voters with a... Read more »


Subscribe to States