A Healthy Blog

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

States

RI Gov. Candidates Pushes MA Approach to Health Reform

RI Lieutenant Governor Charlie Fogarty is the Dem Candidate for Governor in Rhode Island (click here for his site), running against incumbent Don Carcieri, the Republican. Carcieri has been ahead through most of the year, though recent polls have them running neck and neck. Fogarty recently released a health reform agenda. Click here for his health plan. His plan is to cover all kids first, then do employer fair share assessments on all employers with more than ten workers, create a subsidized plan with sliding-scale premiums for low-income residents, and an individual mandate if coverage... Read more »

A New Look at Consumer Advocacy in 16 States

HCFA's national partner organization, Community Catalyst, has just released an in-depth exploration of the state of consumer health advocacy in 16 states, including Massachusetts. Click here for the CC press release on their study. Click here for the full report. National conclusion from CC Executive Director Rob Restuccia: “With more Americans losing or at risk of losing health security every day, creating strong consumer organizations on the ground-level in each state would change the whole tenor and outcome of the health care debate,” stated Restuccia. “It is the missing ingredient to... Read more »

John Kitzhaber's Archimedes Movement

For 20 years now, John Kitzhaber has been one of the most interesting individuals in U.S. health policy. An emergency room doc, Oregon State Senate President and two-term Governor, he was the force behind the Oregon Health Plan which combined a major expansion in Medicaid eligibility with a priority list of services that would -- and would not -- be provided to Medicaid enrollees. Kitzhaber's on a new kick now -- to get federal agreement to give Oregon all the dollars spent on health services in the state (Medicare, Medicaid, lost revenue from tax deductibility of health insurance, and more... Read more »

New National Blog on Uninsured and Access

Check out the new National Health Partnership Blog by clicking here. It's put together by our friends at the Universal Health Care Action Network in Ohio, a meeting and information exchange ground for state folks looking to expand health care access. It's an ecumenical bunch, not wedded to the perfect way, looking at any and all approaches to moving us forward. Nice job, and already full of some interesting and useful posts. Welcome to the fray! Read more »

MA Health Reform Influences Ohio Gov's Race

It's not hard to see the influence the MA health reform law is having in the Ohio gubernatorial campaign. Just check out the editorial from Sunday's Akron Beacon Journal. Democratic Candidate (and Congressman) Ted Strickland proposes an Ohio Healthcare Exchange, to bring together small businesses and private insurers to design low-cost health-care packages that would be available to all uninsured Ohioans. Participation would be voluntary. Low-income families earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level would get help paying the premiums. The exchange, costing $550 million over two... Read more »

Personal Responsibility and Health Care

Two compelling articles in this week's New England Journal of Medicine on personal responsibility and health care. The topic is West Virginia's new Medicaid requirement that low income Medicaid clients sign "member responsibility and rights" agreements. Clients who don't uphold their end -- taking medications, keeping medical appointments, and avoiding unnecessary ER visits -- will have some of their benefits reduced or eliminated. In the first article, Drs. Gene Bishop and Amy Brodkey explore the WV plan and the ethical dilemmas it creates for physicians: Read more »

MA Health Reform Impact: Check Out Colorado

Wonder if MA health reform has influenced other states? Exhibit A: a Colorado gubernatorial debate on health care. Democrat Bill Ritter and Republican Bob Beauprez show the influence Massachusetts has had. Click here for the full account in the Rocky Mountain News. Some excerpts below: About 770,000 Coloradans are uninsured - 17% of the population. Health insurance premiums are rising at three times the rate of inflation. And Medicaid is the fastest- growing part of the state budget. With the stage set, the Rocky Mountain News asked gubernatorial candidates Bill Ritter and Bob Beauprez... Read more »

California Rambling

I took a trip this week to California, land of the Governator, to give a varied audiences details and perspective on MA health reform. Lots of interest, lots of strong opinions, pro and con, informed and otherwise. San Francisco and Sacramento. My hosts were Len Nichols of the New America Foundation and Crystal Hayling of the Blue Shield Foundation. Len’s an economist who taught at Wellesley College in the ‘80s (a good ole boy from Arkansas). He’s did stints in the Clinton Administration and at the Urban Institute and the Center for Studying Health System Change. Now he’s working to... Read more »

The New Health Reform Wave IV: Maryland

From the Daily Record, Maryland's business and legal newspaper: Sure, the health care plan recently passed in Massachusetts aims to insure every state resident and was hailed as groundbreaking. But it won’t change Vinnie DeMarco’s plan to insure all Marylanders. DeMarco, the president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, said he applauds the Massachusetts plan as progressive, but his organization will continue to push its own health care for all plan that aims to provide health insurance for all of Maryland’s uncovered. Many Maryland policymakers likely will look at the Massachusetts... Read more »

The New Health Reform Wave III: Michigan & New Jersey

The beat goes on. From today's Kaiser Daily Briefing: Read more »

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