Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services, met with the Affordable Care Today Coalition (ACT!!) Steering Committee this morning. She was joined by her new chief of staff, Joy Fallon. Rather than delivering a prepared statement, Dr. Bigby sought input. She thinks ACT!! is a valuable resource and sought our views on how to solve problems facing the MA health care system.
Dr. Bigby said the Patrick administration plans to follow through on Chapter 58, and to test the legislation to see what works and what doesn’t. Among primary concerns are increasing health care access, improving affordability, and making sure everyone has a voice in decision making. Dr. Bigby emphasized the importance of having all relevant information when making big decisions.
Dr. Bigby noted that while there are news stories every day about issues affecting health reform, the nuances do not always make the front page. She agreed bad press is a threat to health reform’s success and said the administration would address reform’s image by emphasizing successes—like the fact that the reforms have already provided insurance to 100,000+ previously uninsured people.
Dr. Bigby listened to our members’ views on
• outreach and enrollment funding,
• premium stacking,
• citizenship documentation requirements,
• the future of the Uncompensated Care Pool (UCP),
• allowing employees of large employers to enroll in Commonwealth Choice plans,
• the “Fair Share” employer regulations, and
• concerns about the effectiveness of the Health Disparities Council.
Dr. Bigby seemed to appreciate the input she received, and she seemed especially concerned about citizenship documentation and the UCP.
As someone committed to bringing everyone to the table, and intent on considering all information in making decisions, Dr. Bigby promises to achieve great things in her new role as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We were honored she was able to join us. She is a great asset to the new Administration, and we look forward to working with her as these issues come to the forefront.