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Bipartisan deal on health care issues hits a snag among senate democrats

New York Times, March 24, 2015
WASHINGTON - The deal is as politically remarkable as it is substantive: a long-term plan to finance health care for older Americans, pay doctors who accept Medicare and extend popular health care programs for children and the poor. It was cobbled together by none other than House Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the leader of House Democrats, who rarely agree on anything, with the apparent blessing of a majority of their respective members. Read more »

Geiger Gibson program recognizes eight Emerging Leaders at the National Association of Community Health Centers Policy and Issues Forum (features three Massachusetts awardees)

Newswise, March 23, 2015
Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC and NEW YORK (March 23, 2015) - Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy in Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University honors young professionals currently working in the field of community health. Community health centers and primary care associations nominate bright, dedicated, young professionals nationally, who exemplify the mission and vision of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers of the community health movement. This year is an especially important year because it marks the 50th Anniversary of the health center movement in America. Read more »

Congress must act to save Community Health Centers

The Hill, March 23, 2015
Even as more Americans have health insurance coverage these days, a serious health care problem persists nationwide: a shortage of places to go to get the primary and preventive care services that everyone needs. A key part of the solution lies in our nation’s Community Health Centers, which have provided quality, affordable care for the past five decades. But these vital safety net programs will only continue if Congress acts now to ensure their survival. Read more »

Growing Burden: Toll of major depression mow put at $210 billion a year

WBUR's CommonHealth, March 11, 2015
For more than two decades, Boston economist Paul Greenberg has been calculating the costs of depression — the mood disorder, that is, not the economic downturn. Read more »

Forging community partnerships to improve integrated health

HuffPost Op-Ed by Jackie Jenkins-Scott, March 11, 2015
Each March, the nation celebrates Social Work Month fueled by the hope, resilience and advocacy from thousands of social workers around the country. I want to recognize and thank the social workers who dedicate their lives to improving social conditions and quality of life opportunities for all. Read more »

Health-care deductibles climbing out of reach

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Drew Altman, March 11, 2015
Deductibles are an element of any insurance product, but as deductibles have grown in recent years, a surprising percentage of people with private insurance, and especially those with lower and moderate incomes, simply do not have the resources to pay their deductibles and will either have to put off care or incur medical debt. Read more »

Consumer assets and patient cost sharing

Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 11, 2015
Higher cost sharing in private insurance has been credited with helping to slow the growth of health care costs in recent years. Plans with higher deductibles and other point of service costs provide health plan enrollees with incentives to make more cost conscious health care choices. For families with limited resources, however, high cost sharing can be a potential barrier to care and may lead these families to significant financial difficulties. Many current policies expose individual enrollees to thousands of dollars in cost sharing expenses and family expenses can easily top ten thousand dollars when someone becomes seriously ill. Read more »

Changes for mental health care that are a win-win for everyone

Boston Globe Op-Ed, March 10, 2015
A new governor has an opportunity to rethink entrenched patterns of mental health care delivery. With no new money, a small number of interventions through the Insurance Commissioner could immediately free up service providers and divert money to expanding programs. A good start, with dramatic possibilities. The authors are community mental health providers with direct service experience of over 40 years each, who also have met monthly for the past 35 years to study mental health care delivery. Much time and experience informs the following suggestions. Read more »

Grant to help relaunch drug treatment center for homeless women

Boston Globe, March 10, 2015
An emergency $45,000 grant from the Boston Foundation will help Victory Programs search for a new drug treatment center for homeless women, to replace a facility it had to shutter when the city closed the Long Island Bridge last October. Read more »

Selma gathering re-enacts march across 'Bloody Sunday' bridge

WBUR, March 8, 2015
A day after President Obama spoke in Selma, Ala., to mark the 50th anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' - a police crackdown on the 1965 voting rights march — tens of thousands of people gathered to trace the footsteps of the original protesters who were met by state troopers firing tear-gas and swinging truncheons at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge. Read more »

Grant will fund planning to improve refugee resettlement in Worcester (features Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center)

Telegram & Gazette, March 6, 2015
WORCESTER - Refugees by the thousands have found a welcoming environment in Worcester, as low-cost housing, public transportation and available jobs provide the required building blocks sought by the U.S. State Department. Read more »

Rough 2014 for Bay State insurers

Healthcare Payer News, March 4, 2015
In the state with the highest per-capita healthcare spending, most of the mainstay insurers spent the last year struggling to harvest operating income. Of Massachusetts' four largest insurers, only Tufts Health Plan was able to eke out a real profit on operations last year. Read more »

MassHealth program helping families protect children with asthma (features Family Health Center of Worcester)

Telegram Gazette, March 4, 2015
Asthma's a challenge for any child, but if you are a child with asthma whose family has limited resources, you are more likely to end up wheezing and struggling for breath in the emergency room. Read more »

Round 2: Health care law faces the Supreme Court again

WBUR, March 4, 2015
Round 2 in the legal battle over Obamacare hits the Supreme Court's intellectual boxing ring Wednesday. In one corner is the Obama administration, backed by the nation's hospitals, insurance companies, physician associations and other groups like Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society. Read more »

Wide support for lifting earned-income credit

Boston Globe, March 4, 2015
Quanda Burrell, a single mother of two, works full time as a day-care teacher, earns $24,000 a year, and juggles the bills that inevitably pile up in her Boston home. But each year around this time, she says, she is able to "clear the slate," paying her debts with an income tax refund bolstered by an $800 state credit. Read more »

People with low incomes say they pay a price in poor health

WBUR, March 2, 2015
When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money. Read more »