A Healthy Blog

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

US health policy

Congratulations, Cindy!

Cindy Mann, a good friend of Health Care For All and Massachusetts health care advocacy, has just been named by the Obama Administration to lead the Center for Medicaid and State Operations (CMSO), which oversees Medicaid and CHIP at the federal level. Cindy will begin her new position on June 8th (HHS release here). Cindy worked for many years in Massachusetts, for the legislature and Mass Law Reform Institute, and is on the board of Community Catalyst, our national partner. Cindy is extraordinarily conversant with the details of the MassHealth waiver and chapter 58, and her appointment can... Read more »

Shhh, It's All About Us. (Should We Talk About Mass Health Reform?)

I was just about to write a blog, to be titled, "National Health Reform Has Massachusetts Written All Over It." The impetus was the release tonight of the Senate Finance Committee's option paper (63 page pdf) on expanding health coverage. The paper lays out the options that the Committee will talk about on Thursday as it figures out (in private) this part of its version of the health reform bill. The hook was that again and again, the paper mentions Massachusetts health reform as an example of a policy option to react to or learn from. The word "Massachusetts" appears 10 times in the paper,... Read more »

Lawyers Turn Health Reform Over and Over; and MA is at the Core

You know national health reform is getting serious when the lawyers start getting involved. And, like always, Massachusetts is at the center of the discussion. Last week the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University sponsored a program on "Legal Solutions in Health Reform," featuring 8 papers on issues such as the constitutionality of the individual mandate (hotly debated by some of our commenters), the role of ERISA, and insurance discrimination on the basis of health status. As reported in the New America Foundation's New Health Dialogue blog, Connector... Read more »

National Health Reform -- In the Bag

Two recent developments give me strong confidence that national health reform will happen this year. Read more »

PBS Frontline Series: Sick Around America, Tuesday 9:00 pm

Check out the PBS Frontline special, “Sick Around America.” It airs Tuesday, March 31 at 9 PM and will follow individuals & families across the US as they recount their successes and failures with our health care system. A few people have nothing but positive experiences, such as Mark and Melinda Murray, who happily found that 100% of costs related to a prolonged and complicated pregnancy was covered under Mark’s employee health plan at Microsoft. Others, like Jennifer Thompson of California were dumped by their insurer just when the insurance was needed the most. Georgetown University... Read more »

The Last Word on Mass Health Reform and National Reform (not)

The ongoing discussion of the relevance and lessons of Massachusetts health reform for national reform keeps on going. But maybe now there will be some clarity. Yesterday a thoughtful voice entered the conversation and tried to set everyone straight. Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, settles the issues in Is Massachusetts a Model, a Mirage...or Moot?. As the leader of the attempt in California to pass comprehensive reform that met his state's needs, Anthony brings a perspective that understands the different contexts of different states: Read more »

DC (Mis)Uses MA

In the national health reform conversations, Massachusetts health reform has become a sort of fun-house mirror, where people see different images reflecting the political points they want to make in the Washington discussion. It illustrates how some progressives feel they must delegitimize what Massachusetts has done to make their case about national reform. Why do they feel the need to turn their noses at 432,000 newly covered people? Isn't there a counter-approach, ie: Massachusetts has taken coverage further than any state in history AND national reform ought to go even further? Is it... Read more »

White House Health Reform Regional Forum

Members of the Health Care For All health reform team will be carpooling up to Burlington, VT tomorrow (Tuesday) to participate in the Northeast White House Regional Forum on Health Reform. Hosted by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and Governor Patrick, the event starts at 1pm at the University of Vermont. You can follow it on our twitter account: www.twitter.com/hcfa. Read more »

Catch-Up: Good Stuff To Watch, Hear, Read and Sing

It's been a busy week here, so here's a catch up of some good stuff I've been holding onto for a few days: 1. Watch: No Wavering on Health Reform. After new House Speaker DeLeo made an off-the-cuff comment on health reform, NECN caught up with him, Senate President Murray, and Governor Patrick. All re-affirmed their strong commitment to keeping health reform going. The report below also includes bonus footage of the Oral Health Heroes event Monday. Read more »

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