BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has struck a multi-billion dollar deal with the federal government that Gov. Deval Patrick says will help the state move ahead with plans to overhaul the way it pays for health care coverage.
Patrick praised the three-year, $26.7 billion Medicaid waiver — a $5.7 billion increase over the previous waiver.
Patrick said the money will help the state preserve existing eligibility and benefit levels in Medicaid and Commonwealth Care programs. Commonwealth Care is the subsidized insurance program established by the state’s landmark 2006 health care law.
“Massachusetts has proven itself as a national leader in health care reform, with more than 98 percent of our residents insured,” Patrick said Tuesday. “This new federal agreement will help us build on our success and tackle the next phase of our work — cracking the code on health care costs.”
State lawmakers are hoping to tackle the health care spending issue in the new year. Ensuring the state can continue to pay for the coverage mandated by the 2006 law is critical to its long-term success, supporters say.
During the three-year period, the state has also agreed to fully implement the federal Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, whose major provisions go into effect on January 1, 2014.
The agreement includes funding for several new health-related programs.
The waiver includes $120 million in new federal dollars to help the state’s so-called “safety net hospitals” — those hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of individuals covered by Commonwealth Care and MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.