Federal Health Reform & Massachusetts
National Health Reform
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law historic national health care legislation. This legislation will have a significant impact on Massachusetts; for one, the state and its residents will receive new federal support for health care worth $7.7 billion over the next ten years. It will also reduce the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion over the next twenty years. Federal health reform was significantly influenced by the 2006 reform in Massachusetts. Several elements of national health reform were derived from the Massachusetts model, including:
– Expanding preexisting public programs such as Medicaid to “fill in the cracks” and insure more people.
– Providing subsidies for low – income and middle – class people who cannot afford insurance and do not receive it through their employers.
– Creating a program that helps consumers compare and purchase affordable plans, much like the Massachusetts Health Connector.
Check out the following resources for how reform will impact health care and access in Massachusetts.
Boston Globe, “What the Health Care Overhaul Means for Massachusetts”. March 22, 2010.
Committee on Energy and Commerce, “The Benefits of Health Care Reform in Massachusetts”, March 2010.
FMAP, which stands for Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, is a reimbursement for the money the state spends on Medicaid benefits, such as MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, the Health Safety Net, and other programs.
Massachusetts received enhanced FMAP funding in the wake of the federal stimulus bill, but that funding was expected to expire on August 31, 2010, costing Massachusetts over $650 million that would have lent tremendous support to the 2011 health budget. The possibility of losing this money would have struck CommCare Bridge from the budget, leaving scores of otherwise income – eligible legal immigrants without access to care.
But in August 2010 both the Senate and House of Representatives voted yes on an extension of the enhanced FMAP. This restored CommCare Bridge past its expected August 31st expiration date and sustained support for other Massachusetts health programs.
Background on the FMAP issue, A Healthy Blog, June 2010
FMAP on the Way Means Bridge Coverage for Legal Immigrants Secured, A Healthy Blog August 2010.