A Healthy Blog

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


California on the Verge...

See today's Kaiser Daily Report and the Health Access California blog for details of a rapidly emerging health reform breakthrough in California announced today by Gov. Schwarzenegger and House Assemby Speaker Fabio Nunez. Not in on the party yet is Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata, who wants details on how the Governator will deal with a $14B budget shortfall before signing on. Key components: Read more »

California Reform Reaching the Boiling Point

Keep checking the Health Access California blogsite for up-to-date information on California health reform. Looks like Gov. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are close to a deal. Next week will tell all -- employer mandates, individual mandates, subsidized expansion, insurance market reforms, cost containment, tobacco taxes, and a ballot initiative are all part of the mix. Read more »

States Are Staying Active in Expanding Health Access

The wave of state health access expansion activitiy is continuing. Here are summaries from three states moving ahead (edited from Wednesday's Kaiser Health Policy Report): Read more »

Is California on the Verge...?

For months now, the California health reform process has felt somewhat like the MA health reform process when it was stuck in conference committee between 11/05 and 4/06, except in CA, the deadlock is between Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Senate/Assembly Democratic leadership. This past week, the legislative leaders have publicly advanced a new proposal which may begin to break the deadlock. Check out the website of our friends at Health Access California for the most up-to-date information and analysis. Here are key details from the new plan: Read more »

Dang! Oregon Votes Down Tobacco Taxes for Kid's Health

Only significant health issue on yesterday's ballot around the country was in Oregon where voters -- by a 60-40% margin -- voted down an 84.5 cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes to finance a major expansion in children's eligibility for public coverage. Click here for the Portland Tribune's story on the initiative result -- along with lots of colorful commentary by their readers. The tobacco industry put up about $12 million to defeat the measure, while supporters were able to muster about $3-4 million to promote it. The tobacco industry is back with a vengeance opposing tobacco tax... Read more »

United Health Rankings: We're #9

Each year, the United Health Foundation produces state rankings on a variety of health, health care, and social indicators -- click here for the Massachusetts data and for access to the full report. This year, we're #9 among the 50 states, down from #7 in 2006. The relative slip is pretty minor. The report shows some of our strengths and some of our weaknesses: Strengths: Massachusetts is among the top ten states on 11 of the 20 measures. Strengths include high immunization coverage with 86.9 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving complete immunizations, a low occupational... Read more »

Vermont's Gov. Douglas Discusses "Catamount"

Vermont's Republican Governor Jim Douglas gives Health Affairs an overview of the Vermont Health Reform Law (known as "Catamount Health Care) passed in May 2006, one month after the MA law, and assesses progress to date. Click here for the interview. Why can't Romney sound so rational? Oh yeah. Running for president and all that. Read more »

HCFA Presents on Quality at Western New York Conference

Earlier this week, I attended a conference of the P2 (Pursuing Perfection) Collaborative of Western New York. This collaborative is one of 14 regional efforts across the country to receive funding through Robert Wood Johnson’s Aligning Forces for Quality initiative. The conference was one of the initial steps to bring together stakeholders across Western NYS to align work and combine resources to effect change in the health status of residents. It was exciting to learn about great work taking place there and to hear their hopes for the future. The conference had 3 tracks: consumer, provider... Read more »

Talk Back to Sect. Mike Leavitt on SCHIP

US Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt uses his blog to defend President Bush's veto of the SCHIP authorization -- click here. He's open for comments. Check it out and let him know what you think... Read more »

9/30/07 Double Milestone II: SCHIP/CHIP and Bush’s Brain

Today is the final day of the first 10 years of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP – though House Democrats now insist it be called CHIP). Congress and the President have yet to agree on a new authorization – it’s being extended through mid-November by a continuing resolution, so hold the panic. So a few anniversary reflections. SCHIP was created in 1997 as part of a much larger bill, the Balanced Budget Act. In early ’97, “smart” people said there was no way a Republican Congress would create a new social program in a year of deficit reduction. They underestimated the... Read more »


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