You are here

Contact your State Senators: health related Senate budget amendments

As the Senate debates the budget this week, we ask that you join us by taking just a few moments to call or email your state senators to ask them to co-sponsor amendments 120, 445, 502, and 373, related to health access and equity. You can find your senators' phone numbers and email addresses by entering your home address here.  
 
For more detailed information on each of the amendments, read below. Feel free to copy and paste this information in your communication with your state senators.      
 
Medicare Savings Program/ Medicare Buy-in Expansion (Amendments 120 and 445): filed by Sen. DiDomenico and Sen. Tarr, these (identical) amendments would build on the success of the 2020 expansion of Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) and further expand eligibility by eliminating MSP's asset test and increasing income eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty level. Medicare Savings Programs help low-income Medicare members pay for Medicare premiums and cost-sharing. These amendments would help ensure that Medicare members, often living on fixed and low incomes, can afford their Medicare premiums and cost-sharing charges without having to sacrifice spending on other essential needs, like food and housing. See the attached factsheet for more information.
 
3 Month Retroactive Coverage for MassHealth (Amendment 502): filed by Sen. Joseph Boncore, this amendment would protect MassHealth members under 65 from medical debt they incurred up to 3 months prior to the month of application. Currently this protection is a  permanent feature of MassHealth for people  65 or older but is available to pregnant women, children, people with disabilities and others under 65 only during the COVID public health emergency. Most state Medicaid programs provide this protection to all age groups as required by federal law but MassHealth obtained a  waiver of 3 month retroactive coverage since 1997 for those under 65. Reinstating 3 month retroactive coverage would reduce the burden of medical debt which often contributes to a cascade of financial problems that adversely affect health. It also would increase compensation to safety net providers who provide care to uninsured patients.
 
Funding for Boards of Health (Amendment 373): filed by Sen. Comerford, this amendment would increase funding for line item 4512-2022 to $13M for FY22, which would improve public health protections across the Commonwealth by increasing staff capacity and credentials, increasing efficiencies through cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements, and developing a uniform data collection and reporting system. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is one of the only states that doesn't dedicate state funding to local health departments, causing a wide disparity of public health protections and services throughout the state. Fully funding this line item would help ensure that all residents have access to high-quality public health services, regardless of their race, income, or zip code. Click here for a fact sheet on this amendment
 
If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you for your support!
File Attachment: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon MSP_Amendment_120_(5-2021).pdf705.42 KB