Health Care (Equality)

HEALTHCARE: A (Universal) Healthcare Plan that Works

Q&A: MA State Senator Richard Moore, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

MA State Senator Richard Moore

In 2006, Massachusetts passed the Health Care Reform Act, the first comprehensive health insurance plan in the United States. The plan requires all individuals to have healthcare, with the State stepping up for those unable to afford it. It creates a “Connector,” an agency that helps individuals to find an affordable plan, and allows individuals to opt out—for a while—with a set of defined reasons and a penalty clause.

Two years later, it’s working. Yes, “working.” PT spoke with MA State Senator Richard Moore, one of the program’s architects, to find out why.

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Health Care Reform: Healing a Sick System

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America’s health care crisis looms large as the 2008 election approaches. If policy-makers want to solve it, they’ll first have to change the way they debate the issue.

When Matt Ferguson stole the ball and sped down the court in a recent city-league basketball game, his decision as he neared the other basket said more about health care economics than the state of his game.

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The Uninsured Next Door

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The ranks of uninsured Americans are growing by the hour thanks to changing demographic trends and the breakdown of the post WWII employer-based insurance system. But who are the uninsured among us? You might be surprised to find out.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released data showing that nearly 47 million Americans were living without health care last year. And with a growing number of our youth—11.7 percent of all children under 18—without adequate coverage, governments on both the state and federal level have been working hard to address the public demands for a better health care system.

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Health Care for Hoosiers and Beyond

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The state of Indiana has been grabbing headlines lately with its Hoosier Healthwise program and tobacco tax initiative, two innovative policies that are also spurring conflict with Washington. Indiana State Senator Patricia Miller, who co-authored the state’s unique health program, spoke with PT to explain the initiation and maintenance of these state and federally-funded measures

PT: Could you tell us a little about Hoosier Healthwise, and why it is such a unique program?

Senator Miller: First of all, it’s based on principles. One is that this would essentially be like private insurance—it’s sort of a combination of health insurance with a medical savings account. The state underwrites the insurance premium, but the whole program is implemented through private insurance companies. We wanted to help individuals without health insurance obtain it, and we wanted to make sure they have an appropriate plan.

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Wanted: Timely, Affordable Health Care

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Emergency rooms bring equality to health care: equality of the queue.

Although originally established to treat trauma victims, emergency rooms today are increasingly becoming the health provider of last resort for the poor and uninsured.

Regardless of their ability to pay, patients are given a medical exam and are treated based on the severity of their medical condition.

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Q&A: Maine Senator Lisa Marrache

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When the topic is health care system reform, doctors and policy-makers offer different assessments of the problem. To avoid any potential confusion, PT  talked to Maine Senator Lisa Marrache, a practicing physician and Vice-Chair of the NCSL Health Committee.

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

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While Massachusetts and now California may get all the press, Maine continues its quest for equality in health care.

Before universal health care fever swept Massachusetts and then California, there was Maine. In June 2003, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed the Dirigo Health Reform Act into law with the ambitious goals of controlling costs, improving quality of health care, extending insurance coverage—and providing all Maine's citizens with access to health care by 2009. The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2005.

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