A Healthy Blog

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

US health policy

Remembering Nick Littlefield

All of us at Health Care For All were saddened to hear of the loss of Nick Littlefield in early February. Nick was a longtime champion of health care reform in America and Massachusetts, and his integrity and commitment to the cause will never be forgotten. Beginning his career as a lawyer committed to ethical practice and principles, Nick served as an assistant United States Attorney, taught at Harvard Law, was a leading partner at a Boston law firm, and fought public corruption as the chief counsel of the Ward Commission. Read more »

When it comes to kids, we’re number 1!

This week, we were proud to participate in the release of the Kids Count report, placing Massachusetts at number one in the nation when it comes to overall child well-being. The Annie E. Casey Foundation report covers a wide spectrum of data when it considers children’s wellbeing, and of course access to health care is one of the main metrics in addition to early education, child poverty, and more. With just only about 1% of children uninsured, Massachusetts does extremely well on access to coverage. Read more »

What Two Massachusetts Advocates Learned at the State of Enrollment Conference

“We have succeeded in covering millions of people – now we have to keep them covered” was a message we heard numerous times throughout Enroll America’s State of Enrollment conference.  The days at #SOE2014 were jam-packed with informative workshops and plenaries offering innovative, creative, and experience-driven ideas about how to successfully engage the remaining uninsured and keep those that have enrolled covered. And we know Navigators, Certified Application Counselors (CACs), and other assisters will be critical to ensuring this work is done and done right! Here are some of our key... Read more »

The End of an Era – A Legislative Giant Retires in Washington

Normally, the retirement of a member of Congress representing a district nearly 2,000 miles from Massachusetts would not be mentioned on this blog.  But Congressman Henry Waxman’s announcement today that he will be leaving public life at the end of this year is a notable exception. During his 40 (yes, 40!) years in the House of Representatives, there was scarcely any piece of health care legislation that did not have his fingerprints on it.  As Chairman of the Health and the Environment Subcommittee, Waxman held the first hearings into the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis, exposed deceitful practices... Read more »

DOMA Decision Impacts Health Insurance, State Budget

Today's Supreme Court decision holding part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional will have a number of impacts on health insurance eligibility and costs for same-sex married couples. It also might impact the state budget. Attorney General Martha Coakley quickly put together today a FAQ page, at mass.gov/doma looking at many of these issues. It includes analysis and answers to questions like: Read more »

Reflections on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 40th the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. As I reflect on what that means for me personally and for women across the country, I am struck that even in a state like Massachusetts, where we tout ourselves as national leaders in health care access, there is still much work to be done. Read more »

Fight Over Mental Health Parity Rules

This guest post is by Matt Selig, Executive Director of HCFA partner, Health Law Advocates: A semi-under-the-radar public policy battle is taking place over the writing of the administrative regulations that will implement the 2008 federal Mental Health Parity Law. Health care consumers have a lot at stake and the winners and losers in this fight will be determined within a few weeks. Generally speaking, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires group health plans providing mental health coverage to provide such benefits in a manner that is equal to other medical benefits.... Read more »

Congratulations, Christie!

HCFA congratulates our old friend and colleague, Christie Hager, who was named by federal HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the new regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for New England (official press release here). HCFA worked closely with Christie when she served as Chief Health Counsel for Speaker DiMasi during the development, enactment and first three years of implementation of chapter 58. Christie played a critical role in providing accurate information and smart advice to the Speaker, who championed a strong health reform law under Christie's tutelage... Read more »

National health reform is good for Massachusetts

Starting today, HCFA will be posting a blog-a-day about why national health reform is good for Massachusetts. These posts will include personal stories from people who have benefited from our state’s health reform law and how national health reform can help millions of others like them across the country. The posts will also explain how national health reform will be good for Massachusetts by: Improving health care quality Lowering health care costs Reducing health care disparities Strengthening care for children and seniors Promoting oral health Congress is on the cusp of passing... Read more »

Congratulations, Senator Kirk

Health Care For All applauds the Governor for filling former Senator Edward Kennedy’s seat as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. It is vitally important that Massachusetts have two senators and full representation in Congress. We welcome longtime Kennedy staffer Paul Kirk to the job and are confident he will carry the torch for Senator Kennedy’s constituents. We look forward to working with our new interim senator and continuing the gains of health reform in Massachusetts. Accessible, affordable, and quality health care for Massachusetts consumers is our top priority and we believe Paul... Read more »

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