A Healthy Blog

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


MA Health Reform Is Catching on: NJ, IL, CA

News from three key states again demonstrates that MA-style health reform has legs. How long, how durable -- yet to be determined. But legs it has. New Jersey lawmakers "are drawing up a proposal that would provide medical insurance to all state residents, including the more than 1.2 million people who are now uninsured. The plan, which could be introduced as legislation as soon as March but may not be enacted for years, would compel each of the state’s roughly eight million residents to sign up for insurance plans. New Jersey residents who do not have coverage would enroll in a plan... Read more »

More Details on SCHIP Relief

More details emerging re: Congressional Action over the weekend to provide stop-gap funding for states facing SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) shortfalls. 14 states face SCHIP shortfalls in this fiscal year totally just over $1B. MA is on the list facing a shortfall of $144M. The Congressional action enables redistribution of $271.6M in unused SCHIP funds in FY04 and 05. The money goes first to those states facing funding shortfalls most immediately. That's a total of only six states, including MA -- also GA, IL, MD, NJ, RI. Massachusetts is a big winner among these... Read more »

Gravity's Rainbow: Medicaid Spending FALLS

Man bites dog! Water runs uphill! Medicaid spending declines! I vote for #3 as the least plausible -- but that's what's happening, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as reported in USA Today. Here are some snippets: Medicaid spending has declined unexpectedly this year, the first drop since the health program for the poor was created in 1965. The historic reversal will free up billions of dollars in state budgets. Medicaid has been the fastest-growing expense for states over the past 10 years. Read more »

New Report on State and Local Health Reform Innovations

Click here for a new report by New America Foundation health expert Cristy Gallagher surveying the health reform landscape at the state and local levels, highlighting the best and most innovative of the new approaches. The report, From New England to the Golden Gate Bridge: A Look at Creative Coverage Expansions at the State and Local Levels takes an in-depth look at the tools used to finance expansions and increase coverage afforability. From the much-heralded Massachusetts plan that offers near-universal coverage to less well-publicized reforms that subsidize small empoloyer health... Read more »

Dept. of Pleasant Surprises: MA Workers' Comp Has Best Benefits, Near Lowest Costs of All 50 States

Check out this 11/6 posting on Workers Comp Insider for the surprising news from three recent national surveys of workers' compensation systems in all 50 states: Read more »

PA Legislature Approves Children's Health Expansion

News from this past week from the Kaiser Daily Brief: Read more »

Tommy Thompson: 20 states will have ind. mandate, + our health plans are the best

Two interesting items in today's news: 1. Kaisernetwork Health Policy Report reports that former federal HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson "told reporters that states likely will take the lead on health care reform in the absence of federal action, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to Thompson, regardless of whether Democrats take control of Congress after the midterm elections, federal action on health care likely will not occur until 2008, when he expects the issue to play an important role in the presidential election. He also said that at least 20 states likely will follow the lead of... Read more »

Illinois Counts Cost of Workers on Public Coverage

Massachusetts released its report on private employer workers on public coverage last February. The cost in Massachusetts was over $240 million. Now Illinois has done the same study for their state. Just like Massachusetts, #1 and #2 -- Walmart and McDonalds. Here are some excerpts: By Judith Graham and Barbara Rose, October 7, 2006 Hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers in Illinois are enrolled in public health programs, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs to the state budget, according to a new report. ... 363,506 workers from 3,270 companies obtained medical... Read more »

Public Citizen Ranks State Med Board Websites -- We're #3

Click here for a new Public Citizen report rating and ranking each state's website that provides information on physicians. Massachusetts' website ranks #3 overall -- New Jersey and Virginia are slightly ahead. Click here for the summary on the Massachusetts site. While overall, Massachusetts ranks well, the report points to a variety of ways the report could be improved to provide more and better information to Mass. consumers. Massachusetts was the first state to make physician profile information available to consumers on the Web, way back in 1996. It's good to see we're still near... Read more »

CA Health Reform Process Deepens

More evidence of the impact of Massachusetts health reform on other states' policy processes. The Institute for Health Policy Solutions has produced a report (funded by the California Health Care Foundation) on policy options to cover all Californians. Click here to obtain the set of three reports -- one on each option. Here are excerpts of the summary: Momentum is growing in California—in both the public and private sectors—to make health coverage affordable and available for all, or nearly all. To help inform the development of solutions, CHCF funded a project to identify workable... Read more »


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