Implementing the ACA in Massachusetts is not necessarily an easy, straightforward process. Massachusetts will have many decisions to make, fitting the ACA overlay onto our chapter 58 base (see this BCBS Foundation chart for a list of many of those decisions).
In line with the coalition’s principles, ACT!! believes that the ACA must be implemented in Massachusetts a way that:
- strengthens Chapter 58, the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law;
- expands access to quality, affordable health coverage and improves the health of all our residents;
- maintains a robust and responsive health safety net to ensure access to care for people who remain uninsured or underinsured;
- streamlines and simplifies program eligibility and processes;
- ensures adequate and fair payment rates for doctors, hospitals, and other providers of subsidized insurance/public programs services;
- establishes fair and sustainable funding; and
- is transparent and participatory.
As a primary goal, we urge the Administration to hold harmless current enrollees in public health insurance programs. Implementation of the ACA in Massachusetts should not result in anyone losing benefits or facing higher costs for coverage.
In particular, the ACT!! Coalition supports:
- Using state funds to supplement federal tax credits for people purchasing health plans through the Exchange.
- Creating a Basic Health Program that ensures continuity of coverage and care, adequate provider networks, and robust benefits.
- Maintaining current MassHealth Standard income eligibility standards for pregnant women, HIV-positive individuals, and women with breast and cervical cancer.
- Preserving a robust Health Safety Net for residents who remain uninsured or underinsured.
- Reinvesting in coordinated statewide consumer assistance, navigator and outreach efforts.
- Establishing a transparent decision-making process, including a formal process for broad stakeholder input.
- Applying lessons from current IT and customer service challenges to improve eligibility and enrollment systems for 2014.
We at HCFA and the ACT!! Coalition appreciate the Administration’s hard work and dedication to successfully implementing the Affordable Care Act. MassHealth, the Connector and EOHHS plan to have an open, participatory process to get input on these decisions, and legislation will be required by early next year. We look forward to working with the Administration, Legislature, and other stakeholders to ensure that the ACA strengthens Massachusetts’ health care system.