Health Reform in Massachusetts

From September 2008 to May 2009, I was on a Kaiser Media Fellowship to follow health reform efforts in Massachusetts. My stories during that period appeared on WFCR public radio, on NPR, and on other outlets. Since then, I have continued to cover the topic as health reform remains a key local and national issue.

Primer on Health Reform – A Conversation in Boston and Amherst

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

WBUR health reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, and myself, teamed up for an on-air conversation about the state’s health reform programs — looking at some geographic differences between Eastern and Western Massachusetts, and highlighting some of the people we’ve each interviewed on the ground. WFCR and WBUR both aired it in two parts, on December 1-2, 2009.

Listen here for Part 1, focusing on affordability of health care in Massachusetts.

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Listen here for Part 2, looking at access to health care.

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Urgent Care Clinics — the Primary Care Overflow

Monday, October 12th, 2009

As it gets more difficult to make an appointment with a primary care doctor, one business model is picking up the slack: walk-in medical centers. Walk-in clinics — from drugstore chains that offer limited services from a nurse to stand-alone clinics operated by emergency room doctors — are increasingly treating people who either don’t have a regular doctor or can’t get in to see one when they need to. And if Congress succeeds in passing a nationwide health insurance mandate, the urgent care industry expects even more growth.

Listen to local story:

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Or click HERE for national NPR story.

Aired on WFCR on October 8, 2009, and on NPR’s All Things Considered, Nov. 20, 2009.

Download local audio by right-clicking here


A Taxpayer Advocate’s Perspective

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

An interview with Michael Widmer, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, about his take on

Michael Widmer

Michael Widmer

Massachusetts health reform, and its cost to the state. He says it’s not as expensive as you might think.

Click here for the interview on the WFCR website. Story aired July 24, 2009.

Learning from Massachusetts — a CT radio conversation

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I was invited as a guest on Connecticut Public Radio’s  call-in show, “Where We Live” — hosted by John Dankosky. The topic was health reform in Massachusetts — and what Connecticut can learn from the experience. Other guests include a consumer advocate, a provider, and a CT activist.

To listen to the July 22, 2009 program, click here

Legal Immigrants in Limbo

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Listen Now

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The health insurance of about 30,000 legal immigrants in Massachusetts hangs in the balance. The budget passed in June by the legislature would end their state-sponsored health insurance by September, but the Governor wants to restore 70 million dollars of the cuts. In the meantime, many immigrants are worried about how they will pay for healthcare.

This story aired on WFCR on July 16, 2009.

To download audio, right-click here

Paying for Healthcare – A Pilot Program

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Listen Now (5:45)

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The one thing that almost everyone involved in the health care debate agrees on — is that health costs in America are out of control. In Massachusetts, a state commission has been studying ways to change how healthcare is paid for, and it’s expected to report its recommendations Thursday (7/16/09). Meanwhile, the state’s largest insurance company is piloting a new payment system that it claims will keep down costs without sacrificing care.

This story aired on WFCR July 15th, 2009.