A few good clicks:
1. “Money well spent” – that’s the conclusion of the Boston Globe editorial from Saturday on the outreach grant funding now before the budget conferees. The Globe drew this lesson from the delayed mailing of notices to some 16,000 CommCare members and applicants. The editorial stated that “The glitch does point up the need for the state to continue to fund the work of nonprofit community outreach groups that were instrumental in enrolling the uninsured. These 45 groups, many rooted in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking communities, are still needed to help enrollees in the subsidized program, called Commonwealth Care, navigate the ins and outs of keeping, or losing, coverage.”
2. “given sufficient resources, more can be done” – The New England Journal of Medicine reviewed health reform implementation and called for increased federal support through the MassHealth waiver, still under negotiation. The report’s conclusions are important:
“Health care reform in Massachusetts is not a panacea for the many shortcomings of the health care system…. Having health insurance is not having health care. There are still many difficulties with access to primary care and other services. However, Massachusetts has made some strides, and given sufficient resources, more can be done. This includes identifying and reaching people who are still uninsured and helping them gain coverage, expanding employer-sponsored insurance, and improving the options for part-time employees, for low-paid workers who are offered insurance by their employers but who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty guideline and cannot afford it, and for others with hardship exemptions.
3. “The state made a great commitment, a heroic commitment” – Today’s USA Today pegs a story to the first anniversary of the start of the individual mandate. The lead features a 55-year old woman whose premium went from $422 to $615, which we frankly don’t understand (Commonwealth Choice rates have been erratic at times, but we haven’t seen this much of a jump for adult plans). This is counterbalanced with a woman whose life was saved when her thyroid cancer was treated with state-provided coverage. The story covers budget issues, and features Connector ED Jon Kingsdale making the coverage first, costs second pitch:
“The way to do this is to make the moral commitment to cover everybody,” Kingsdale says. That forces “the political leadership, doctors, hospitals and health insurers to grapple with how to make this affordable. I don’t know any other way to get America to confront this very tough problem.”
4. “we’re already seeing some impressive results” – Finally, DPH Commissioner John Auerbach writes on WBUR’s Commonhealth blog on the public health gains they are measuring as health coverage improves. Higher adult vaccination and colonoscopy rates, and less need for subsidized breast and cervical cancer screenings have been observed. DPH is monitoring health improvements, and expects to have more data later.