Health Care

Blazing the trail for universal health coverage

Blazing the trail for universal health coverage

Taking stock 30 years after landmark state law was passed

THIRTY YEARS AGO today, Massachusetts made history with the passage of the Universal Health Care Law, a triumph that continues to teach us how broad coalitions can win crucial battles and overcome daunting obstacles with time and tenacity. As two veterans of three decades of health care fights, we can bear witness to the long(...)

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The Codcast: A devilish health care merger

Two of the state’s leading health care analysts say they aren’t sure whether creating a powerful alternative to Partners HealthCare will reduce health care costs in Massachusetts or increase them. “It’s the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know,” said John E. McDonough, a professor of public health practice at the TH Chan(...)

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Unlikely partners protect contraceptive coverage

Unlikely partners protect contraceptive coverage

Compromise key for health insurers, reproductive freedom advocates

A YEAR AGO IN MASSACHUSETTS, reproductive freedom advocates and health insurance plans sat down for an unlikely meeting: to find a way to protect access to birth control in the Commonwealth. Our groups have historically been at odds about access to certain coverages and the insurance mandates to pay for therm. The health plans knew(...)

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Tufts CEO slams BI-Lahey merger

Tufts CEO slams BI-Lahey merger

Warns ‘duopoly’ will control commercial market

THE CEO OF TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER took issue with the stated rationale behind the proposed megamerger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and several other hospitals, saying the combined entity would not end up challenging Partners HealthCare for supremacy in Massachusetts. “This is a false argument,” said Michael Wagner, testifying at an educational(...)

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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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