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

US health policy

Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

Last Friday, the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum hosted an event titled “Impact of the 2008 Presidential Election on Health Policy.” Harvard professor Bob Blendon presented his analysis of exit polling results from the November presidential election. Stuart Altman, Phil Johnston, and Kerry Healey responded in a panel discussion on the role of health care issues in the election and what we might expect from the Obama administration. For more information and to view Professor Blendon’s slides, click here. Some of Blendon’s key points: Read more »

Shouldn’t There Be A Better Way To Get Kids Covered?

Families USA, a national health care advocacy group, has released a good news-bad news report. (Read article on boston.com) The good news is that the number of uninsured children has declined by about 6 percent last year. Nationally, about one in nine children had no health insurance in 2007, according to the US Census Bureau. Massachusetts boasts the lowest rate of uninsured children in the nation; about 4.6% of kids in this state lacked health insurance between 2005 and 2007. The bad news is that these kids are getting coverage because more children are poor and eligible for government... Read more »

Health Leaders Excited About National Health Care Reform

On Thursday afternoon, the New England Alliance for Children’s Health (NEACH), the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and PricewaterhouseCoopers hosted a national broadcast of a town hall meeting with a panel of Congressional leaders, health care policy experts and a senior health care advisor to President-elect Obama, followed by a panel discussion with Boston-based health policy leaders. Moderated by Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the national conversation addressed how health care reform proposals will be transformed into policies that work for American... Read more »

Two Videos: Why We Will Have National Reform

A Kos post has all the links on national reform from the past few days, the latest news from Kaiser is here, and the Wall Street Journal explained why health reform 2009 will not be like 1993 ("A wide variety of interest groups are rooting for it to succeed rather than plotting to kill it."). But the videos are more fun. From the New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, the Top 5 Reasons We Know Obama Is Serious About Health Care Reform: Read more »

Senator Baucus Unveils Health Reform Plan Patterned After Massachusetts

Today's guest blogger is Michael Miller, Director of Strategic Policy for Community Catalyst When Massachusetts passed it groundbreaking health reform initiative in 2006, few people anticipated the enormous influence it would have on subsequent policy debate across the country. Since then however, the “Massachusetts model” has been the basis for discussion in state houses across the country and increasingly in the nation’s capitol. Yesterday, in another testament to the power of the reforms being tested in Massachusetts, Senator Max Baucus (D, MT), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee,... Read more »

"Health Care Can't Wait" -- Sen. Kennedy

Sen. Kennedy's call in the Washington Post today draws on the Massachusetts experience to argue for national reform: Read more »

Post-Election Random Thoughts

In no particular order, here are some questions we're thinking about in relation to the new post-election administration and Congress: 1. Stimulus Bill - FMAP? Will Congress pass a new economic stimulus bill during a lame duck session, and will it include an FMAP increase - more Medicaid funds for states? For Massachusetts, a temporary FMAP increase that would allow easing of some of the harsh MassHealth rate cuts and would prevent layoffs and maintain critical health services. One option suggested by Speaker Pelosi would be for the Senate to take up the stimulus bill already passed by the... Read more »

Voilà! Just Define the Uninsured as Covered, and Problem Disappears. For Free!

I've been saving our "Health Care Humor" tag for when/if Mitt Romney is selected as VP candidate, and has to walk back from chapter 58, his campaign's claim for his signal achievement, but this new statement from McCain health plan author John Goodman is too good to pass up. He claims that anyone who can go to an emergency room effectively has health insurance. "So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even... Read more »

New $40 Million National Health Care Campaign Launches

Health Care for America Now, a coalition including labor unions, large membership groups, DC think tanks, doctors, nurses, and leading online activists, is launching a $40 million campaign to push for quality, affordable health care for every American. Read more »

Daschle for HHS?

Online chatter today that a President Obama might choose former Senator Tom Daschle as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. It's way, way too early to speculate, and the main-stream speculation has been that Daschle would make an outstanding chief of staff. This was in Congress Daily, a capitol hill insider newsletter: “Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota has no interest in the vice presidency or in serving as chief of staff if Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is elected president, but sources say he is interested in universal health care and might relish... Read more »

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