8 a.m. | Acting Gov. Kim Driscoll gives the keynote at Elms College’s 2023 Executive Leadership Breakfast. | Mary Dooley College Center, Elms College 291 Springfield St., Chicopee
8:30 a.m. | Mayor Wu gives remarks at Bisnow's Boston Multifamily Conference.....Westin, 425 Summer Street, Boston
9 a.m. | .Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets, with plans to vote on whether to open a public comment period on a new and inclusive sexual health curriculum framework pitched by the Healey administration last week. | 75 Pleasant St., Malden
10 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey continues her Ireland visit with a stacked day of business and political events and addresses the Irish Senate. | Seanad Éireann, Kildare Street, Dublin
11 a.m. | Leaders of labor unions, community organizations and faith-based groups with the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition rally virtually against tax cuts for the "wealthy."
Conversations around health care on Beacon Hill have been dominated by a lack of equity in outcomes, a 19,000-person worker shortage and a MassHealth redetermination that could shed as many as 300,000 low-earning residents from state-funded health insurance rolls.
But Massachusetts’ health system appears to be doing far better than most. It tied with Hawaii for first place in the latest Commonwealth Fund Scorecard. It showed that the Bay State had the lowest rate of deaths “from preventable and treatable causes” through the peak years of the pandemic.
Health care advocates told MASSterList it is recognition for a system that still struggles with plenty of challenges — and perhaps also paints a harrowing picture of the state of health care in the US in general.
“The two are not mutually exclusive. We do have challenges and I think that’s why we are particularly moved this year: because there are so many challenges we face. It does also show to our partners on Beacon Hill that when we work together we can have more success than any other state in the country,” said Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association Steve Walsh. “When Massachusetts works together, we lead.”
The Commonwealth Fund’s 2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance uses federal health data from 2021 — the most recent available — to rank all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 58 measures of health outcomes, equity and affordability.
Despite the commonwealth’s high marks, Walsh said Massachusetts has not been “without tragedy.” Nearly 25,000 people have died of COVID since the outset of the pandemic.
Massachusetts almost always nears the top of the list for health care services, which Walsh attributes, in part, to the state’s high insured rate. As the state redetermines eligibility for 300,000 residents, Walsh said equity concerns top the list.
To remain a leader, Walsh said Massachusetts must tackle its health care and financial stability problems by changing the way care is delivered in the future, including expanding telehealth access, streamlining the licensure process for nurses and others and investing in the workforce.
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Keller @ Large
As inflation limits the reach of local aid dollars, Massachusetts cities and towns are thinking twice about Proposition 2 1/2 tax-cap overrides, writes WBZ political analyst Jon Keller. A trend could be brewing as municipalities batten down the hatches amid high inflation that’s limiting the reach of local aid dollars.
State government funded through July as budget talks ramble on
The pressure is off lawmakers who were scrambling to pass a state operating budget ahead of the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Acting Gov. Kim Driscoll yesterday signed an interim budget to keep the state’s bills paid and payrolls funded well into July. The House and Senate on Monday sped the $6.66 billion interim budget back to the governor, who filed it last week. It effectively authorizes another month of funding for government services while negotiators work on details of a consensus annual budget. Overdue annual budgets have become the norm in Massachusetts.
Top House Democrat’s bill would crack down on ghost guns
A top House Democrat on Beacon Hill delivered on a request made a year ago by House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano, when the lawmaker filed a wide-ranging proposal aimed at reforming gun laws in Massachusetts, writes Samantha J. Gross for The Boston Globe. The state already has some of the strictest rules in the country. The bill, filed by Joint Judiciary Committee Chair Michael S. Day would ‘modernize’ the state’s gun laws and take steps to get rid of so-called ‘ghost guns,’ among other measures.”
Climate goal push could drive single-family home prices up $23,000
Developers are raising the alarm on another potential cost driver for already out of control home prices in Massachusetts, reports Trea Lavery. According to the report, on-site fossil fuel consumption in residential and commercial buildings made up 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts in 2017, mostly driven by oil and natural gas used for heating. Cutting costs could add up to $23,000 on the cost of single-family homes.
Cell phone tracking data in lawmakers’ sights
Jennifer Smith of CommonWealth Magazine writes that most who offered testimony in favor of the Location Shield Act cited fear about people seeking abortion in Massachusetts being susceptible to tracking by other states. But others highlighted the much broader implication of the bill: almost everyone is left startlingly vulnerable by the current system.”
Staffing problems compound at T as more workers leave
The MBTA is already shortstaffed by the thousands and the agency faces a growing hurdle: The workers they already have are leaving faster than before, reports Matt Stout or The Globe. The transit agency is losing employees at an annual clip of roughly 13 percent, an increase from previous years.
Massachusetts colleges brace for SCOTUS affirmative action decision
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the use of affirmative action in higher education is coming soon and could have a big impact in Massachusetts, where hundreds of colleges and universities are situated, reports Max Larkin for WBUR.v
Undocumented immigrants revved up for licenses
More than 100,000 undocumented Bay Staters are expected to apply for a driver’s license in the next six months after a state law, called the Work and Family Mobility Act, makes learner’s permits and driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants in the state, writes Sarah Betancourt for GBH. The measure goes into effect on July 1.
Former House hopeful Beej Das arrested on fraud charges
Abhijit ‘Beej” Das, who was part of the pack of 10 Democrats who sought the 3rd Congressional District nomination in 2018, was arrested in Florida Monday after a Boston grand jury indicted him on fraud charges, Alana Melanson of the Lowell Sun reports. Das, an attorney who faces charges he enriched himself with client funds, was also indicted in 2021 for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Citing “challenging” environment, Heywood Hospital hits pause on $29M expansion
Heywood Hospital in Gardner has paused construction on a $29 million surgical facility, saying it needed more time to negotiate terms of the project with its strategic partners amid what it called the “challenging healthcare environment.” Heywood has had a tumultuous year: In January a planned merger with UMass Memorial Health was called off and earlier this month the hospital parted ways with its longtime CEO.
Order bars Cambridge from releasing name of cop in shooting
Officials in Cambridge have been barred by court order from disclosing the name of the police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Arif Sayed Faisal in January since an inquest was launched just weeks later, Marc Levy of Cambridge Day reports. Some city councilors said they were unaware of the order, which came to light as they started work on a policy aimed at codifying what information will be released and addressing the calls of protesters who have been crashing council meetings for months to press for more transparency.
Martha’s Vineyard weighs launching a drug court
Cape and Islands District Attorney Robert Galibois is laying the groundwork for a potential Drug Court to be opened on Martha’s Vineyard that would divert some criminal defendants to supervised treatment programs, Ethan Genter of the Vineyard Gazette reports.