Health Care

Democrats have a lot to learn from Trump

Democrats have a lot to learn from Trump

He won’t drain the swamp, but they should  

OUR DAILY FOCUS on Donald Trump’s narcissistic behavior diverts attention from something much more significant: the likelihood that his presidency may constitute an important historical transition for the United States. It is obvious that the election of Trump represented a departure from the norm. It is not obvious that his departure from the presidency will represent(...)

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An upstart helps to reshape MassHealth

An upstart helps to reshape MassHealth

Health centers band together to form an innovative ‘accountable care organization’ 

ON MARCH 1, the state’s Medicaid program—known as MassHealth—entered a new era with the launch of 17 accountable care organizations, or ACOs, aiming to provide better coordinated care at lower costs to its low-income enrollees. It’s an ambitious effort with lots of risk and big potential rewards. Within this is another compelling effort to redefine(...)

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How we end the opioid epidemic

How we end the opioid epidemic

Eliminate the stigma, treat the person

IT’S DIFFICULT TO WATCH OR READ the news without seeing another family torn apart by the opioid crisis. The epidemic is so widespread that it’s been declared a national public health emergency – and Massachusetts is on the forefront in many ways.  In the last few weeks, we’ve seen countless examples of how opioids can(...)

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BI-Lahey merger gets a break on cost growth

BI-Lahey merger gets a break on cost growth

State officials remove benchmark mandate they enforced with Partners

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS stripped language from a document that would have required the merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health to prove they’ll meet legislatively mandated cost growth benchmarks, a requirement officials made sure was adopted as part of the recent merger between Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The(...)

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NIH funding provides the core foundation for new drugs

NIH funding provides the core foundation for new drugs

Proposed Trump cuts would slow progress in developing new cures

HOW MANY NEW drugs come from research funded by the National Institutes of Health? That was the question posed by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, co-chair of the Senate’s bipartisan NIH caucus, at a recent Senate hearing about NIH funding. The short answer: all of them. Sen. Durbin posed his question at a hearing focused on(...)

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Tracking hospital community investments

Tracking hospital community investments

Progress has been made, but there’s still work to do

IN FEBRUARY, ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY released her office’s revised community benefit guidelines for hospitals and for HMOs—with scant media attention.  This surprised the two of us a bit, as many a health policy discussion in recent years centered on issues of greater hospital accountability for investing resources to advance community health status, as well(...)

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Medicaid dental coverage is failing the poor

Medicaid dental coverage is failing the poor

Spotty coverage, low reimbursement rates mean less care for patients now, bigger problems later

WE ARE LOSING a lot of really good teeth. “We” is our community of lower-income adults and children who depend on a broken Medicaid dental care system that short-changes their oral health and by extension, their long-term overall health. “We” also refers to the dental professionals whose responsibility it is to save teeth, but who(...)

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GIC health premiums will fall or stay flat

GIC health premiums will fall or stay flat

Even without plan consolidation, rates are holding steady or falling

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE ABOUT HALF THE MORE than 430,000 people covered by Group Insurance Commission plans will see a decrease in their premiums in fiscal 2019 and on average there will be no increase in premiums, GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman said Thursday. “This is kind of unheard of,” Herman told the GIC board(...)

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Group Insurance Commission reverts to status quo

Group Insurance Commission reverts to status quo

Baker cabinet member flips his vote to restore ‘peace of mind’

THE STATE’S GROUP INSURANCE COMMISSION on Thursday shelved an ambitious proposal to save an estimated $21 million by paring back the number of health insurance carriers available to its 430,000 state and municipal customers and opted instead for a status quo approach that will save just $1 million. Commission members initially backed the ambitious proposal(...)

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