A Healthy Blog

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

States

SF Starts Enrollment in Health San Francisco

Massachusetts is not the only place where enrollment is opening to folks without health insurance. This past week, the door to coverage opened for a municipal program in San Francisco aiming to provide health services to every uninsured city resident. Click here for a San Francisco Chronicle story on the limited opening this past week: Read more »

Things Are Cooking in California

We've been worried about health reform efforts in California -- the Olympics of state health reform. Seemed like the Governator and the Legislature we're moving further apart. Now the stage is being set for the high-stakes negotiations between both sides. Here are excerpts from a recent update from the Kaiser Daily Report: Read more »

RWJF to Invest $12M in State Consumer Health Advocacy

HCFA's national partner, Community Catalyst, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have just announced the launch of a $12 million effort to strengthen state consumer health advocacy networks in a select number of key states across the U.S. The national program, Consumer Voices for Coverage, will assist in building a single, integrated health care advocacy network in selected states. The call for proposals was released today. Community Catlyst will serve as the National Program Office for the new initiative. The new program seeks to strengthen state consumer health advocacy networks... Read more »

State Measures on Health System Performance: We're #8

First rate study released today by the Commonwealth Fund: Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance. Compares all 50 states on 2003-2005 date on access, quality, healthy lives, equity, and avoidable hospital use and cost. Click here for the report overview. Here's the part we love the best: Across states, better access to care and higher rates of insurance are closely associated with better quality (Exhibit 3). States with the lowest rates of uninsured residents tend to score highest on measures of preventive and chronic disease care, as well as other... Read more »

Here's a Cost Control Idea: Delaware Bill Would Require State Oversight of Premiums

Check out this article from the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware. The Delaware Senate, by a wide margin, has approved legislation to direct the state's Insurance Department to regulate insurance premiums, the same as they do for auto and homeowner's insurance policies. The House is undecided, though Gov. Ruth Ann Minner sounds supportive. Click here to read the bill -- mercifully short. Read more »

NJ Puts of Blueprint to Eliminate Disparities

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and his Department of Health and Human Services have just released a 104 page Strategic Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities in New Jersey. Fantastic document. Great information and analysis. Great plan of action. Have not seen anything like this for Massachusetts. How about it? Read more »

Gruber's Hot in California

Click here for a Blog report on Jon Gruber's presentation in Sacramento Wednesday. Gruber is the MIT Professor, Connector Board Member, and numbers cruncher on state health reform proposals. Anthony Wright of Health Access California called it a Gruberfest, a "wonk rock concert": "No encores, but you half-expected T-shirts to be sold in the hallway." Here's his actual presentation. Read more »

New Report Compares Reforms in ME, MA, and VT

Click here for a new report prepared by the National Academy for State Health Policy contrasting health reform laws enacted in Maine (2003), Massachusetts (2006), and Vermont (2006). They find a lot of common ground and similar approaches. Some key findings: Read more »

A Reason to Appreciate the MA Market

Lots of compelling stuff in today's NYT -- check out this article on "Small Businesses’ Premiums Soar After Illness" by Milt Freudenheim. Small businesses find their health insurance premiums going up astronomically after just one worker has a serious illness -- and the higher rates stay in place years after the worker in question dies. Common practice in most parts of the nation. (And check out this companion article on the difficulties facing the self-employed -- click here.) Read more »

Tough Sledding in Illinois

Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich put a strikingly ambitious health coverage plan on the table, financed by major new corporate taxes. With one month left in the legislative session, the NYT reports the plan is facing substantial political obstacles, chiefly connected with the new taxes on business. Among those opposing the financing scheme is Rev. Jesse Jackson. Ouch. Our friend Alan Weil sets the larger context: Alan Weil, the executive president of the National Academy for State Health Policy, called the plan ambitious in its reach. “If this happens, I’d put it in the... Read more »

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