Before I post some big news from today, I want to discuss Partner’s business practices for a minute. The Partners Network makes vast profits almost every year. I’m sure if you lined up all the businesses based in MA that mostly deal with MA customers, Partner’s gross profits would be very near the top — and yet goes tax free, because it’s a “non-profit.” Baloney. It’s important to understand how this works, though. Partners is so profitable because it’s so huge, and is able to use its market leverage to force insurers to pay it more than other hospitals for the same services. Partners then uses that market leverage to 1) Price out the small community hospitals and networks. 2) Which forces those small community hospitals and networks to start looking for a bigger fish to gobble them up. 3) And then, once gobbled up by Partners, Partners will close all the community hospital’s less-profitable units whenever there’s opportunity to force people to travel into Boston where Partners can get better insurance rates. 4) Which then means many (mostly poor people) will go without core services, since not everyone can go to Boston. No doubt Partners sees this as a feature, […]
UPDATE: Due to weather and travel conditions, the Sexual Health Lobby Day scheduled for February 3 at the State House has been cancelled. Stay tuned for a new date!
This post is written by Marty Walz, President of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Talking about sex and sexual health in the State House’s Great Hall might be awkward for some who work in the building – but it is far overdue. That’s why more than 30 organizations will host the state’s first-ever Sexual Healthy Lobby Day on Tuesday, February 3 (rescheduled from January 28 due to the storm). Think it’s time to talk about sex? Find more information here. More than 200 activists will come to Beacon Hill to push for legislation that will make Massachusetts a healthier place to live. In one of her first public addresses since her swearing-in, Attorney General Maura Healey will share her thoughts on why prioritizing sexual health is essential for Massachusetts. In addition, five young people from local high schools and colleges will share personal stories about why comprehensive sex ed, access to birth control, and other sexual health issues are important to them and why they should be prioritized this legislative session. Massachusetts is one of only 16 states in the country that does not require any sexuality or HIV/sexually transmitted infection education in schools. By passing An Act Relative […]
It is time for Massachusetts to lead the nation, once again, on healthcare. An “historic” opportunity to address provider pricing power, in a period of market consolidation, should not be overlooked. The governor-elect and attorney general-elect should take this opportunity to renegotiate the Partners Healthcare deal—and defend the interests of Massachusetts consumers. The Boston Globe has called the regulatory scrutiny of Partners Healthcare “historic, for the unprecedented level of scrutiny it’s bringing to a proposed merger of hospitals and the focus on long-term cost control.” With all of the ink that has been dedicated to coverage of the proposed Partners Healthcare expansion, and its “potential” to increase healthcare costs in Massachusetts, it is helpful to consult the publicly available data to elucidate the issue and illustrate its importance.
A Plan to Stop a Silent Killer By Senator Edward J. Markey Heroin and prescription drug addiction is an equal-opportunity destroyer of lives and families across Massachusetts are struggling with the recent scourge of overdoses that are claiming lives at an unprecedented pace. Today, drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths, surpassing car accidents nationwide. This dramatic rise in addiction to heroin and prescription drugs, collectively known as opioids, is nothing less than catastrophic. And the magnitude of the harm that our communities are suffering is nothing short of an epidemic. Families across the Commonwealth are experiencing the daily tragedies of addiction that are playing out in cars, in parking lots, in emergency rooms, and all too often silently in homes across our state. In Massachusetts, approximately 65,000 people are currently dependent on opioids—50,000 of whom need treatment but aren’t currently receiving it. There is no doubt that the current opioid overdose crisis has been primarily driven by the health care system. In the past decade, the number of prescriptions written has increased by 400 percent. In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle […]
First we were assured that Ebola would never come to the US. Comforting if reality doesn’t interfere. Seriously, we prepare for bird flu which we expect to travel from Asia. West Africa is closer. Attempts to quarantine an entire country or 2 or 3, that will only slow things. Perhaps a quarantine of Texas would make us feel better, but wouldn’t be effective either. So sooner or later, there will be an outbreak in the US, but we can rely on our superior health care system. We have a wonderful tiered health care system that gives excellent results for the top tier. While the US leads the wealthy nations in medically preventable deaths with an estimated 100,000 per year, this does not effect the excellent care delivered to the top tier consumers. If your housekeeper, nanny, restaurant worker, farm worker, or employees drop dead from thyroid disease, appendicitis, tetanus infections, abdominal hernia, colon cancer, measles and epilepsy, leukemia, cervical cancer, diabetes or heart disease they are replaceable without any noticeable disruption. A rate we can live with unless they begin passing around a communicable disease. In Texas we saw an Ebola patient sent home to infect more people. We now […]
Come out tonight (9/3) to the Chateau on School Street in Waltham at 5:30PM to meet 5th Congressional Candidate Dr. Shelly Schwartz. There are no debates scheduled in this race so it is really the only way to get to meet this great candidate to represent us in Congress. Sheldon Schwartz for Congress Sheldon Schwartz for Congress To win our election and start to change Congress View on www.shelly2014.com Preview by Yahoo Shelly believes that the government should be there to set the rules, ensure that the rules are being followed, and give everyone an opportunity to succeed in life regardless of where they live or who their parents are. This does not mean, however, that he is not disturbed by the wasteful manner in which our hard-earned money can be spent in Washington. He believes that being a strong Democrat is not equivalent to supporting every government program regardless of how effective. He will be a strong advocate against government waste, working to ensure that our money is wisely spent. He will work to make our government more efficient and effective through measures such as upgrading technology, discontinuing duplicative administrative commissions, and making our government more transparent.
My pal Ed Lyons, an IT project professional, (known by some here as RMG poster “edfactor”) writes an extensive autopsy of the Health Connector failure. I advised him to use a less opinionated tone but he said it’s not intended to be a magazine article but as a resource document for a wide range of people, including the press, and he wanted to express his outrage. His ultimate goal is better government, especially when it comes to IT issues. He feels, based on our local high tech economy, that Massachusetts should have the best government IT infrastructure in the country. The failure of this project not only wasted a lot of taxpayers dollars, but harmed people that needed help. It’s a monster read, but very interesting. https://medium.com/@mysteriousrook/the-whole-story-of-the-massachusetts-health-connector-888dd16c4366
Another successful lawyer and former legislator (both MA houses) is eager to “get back in” and make positive differences. Warren Tolman was on to describe his planks, his approaches, and why he thinks he’s the one to be the next MA attorney general. For one of the sidetracks we dealt with in the other Dem AG candidate, Maura Healey’s show last week, he thought the two campaigns will in fact finalize a people’s pledge to limit outside money. And with a chuckle, he agreed with me that including those annoying robocalls in it would be welcome. Tolman is very proud of his efforts as legislator in successes fighting the tobacco industry and campaign-finance and ethics reforms. Click below to hear what he intends to do if we gets the office.
This post is written by Marty Walz, President of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. Earlier this week, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund announced its endorsement of Maura Healey for Attorney General. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. A few people have wondered why we endorsed Maura when her opponent, Warren Tolman, is a supporter of women’s health. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, read on for insight into why we are confident Maura Healey is the Attorney General we need in Massachusetts. Maura Healey has been a leader. Indeed, she has been a champion for women’s access to health care. And she’s been doing it from the very place she seeks to lead.