Health care must be a right of all residents. Our fragmented system is costly, inequitable, and often does not provide optimal care.
Please take a moment to look at the health care bills I have filed this session.
You can also view all bills I’ve co-sponsored this session here.
Home Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities
SD.527, An Act supporting equal access to community care for elders and the disabled
Current law makes seniors and people with disabilities ineligible for home care if their income goes just a penny above the income limit, a policy often called the “cliff effect.” My bill will allow eligible people to receive MassHealth home and community-based care even if their income is over the program income limit, if they pay a premium equal to their income above the limit.
Technical Corrections to Naturopathy Statute
SD.529, An Act relative to the board of registration in naturopathy
Naturopathy uses a variety of therapies to restore and maintain the health of their patients including clinical nutrition, botanical and homeopathic medicine, and lifestyle management. My bill makes technical corrections to the statute governing their practice.
Protect Mental Health Care Services
SD.531, An Act providing continuity of care for mental health treatment
Mental health care is intensely personal, yet when mental health providers leave an insurer’s network, their patients can be left in a lurch in the middle of their treatment. My bill gives patients the right to continue with their mental health clinician even if their insurance network changes.
Protect Homes of Deceased MassHealth Members
SD.1031, An Act protecting the homes of seniors and disabled people on MassHealth
MassHealth, our Medicaid program, demands repayment after death from the estates or families of low-income people who received Medicaid health care services after age 55. Over 90 percent of these repayments come from the sale of the family home. My bill limits the estate recovery program so that repayment is only sought where it is required by the federal government, as well as strengthens advance notice requirements and expands hardship waiver criteria.
Support Dental Care at Community Health Centers
SD.1033, An Act improving access to dental care in the Commonwealth
Dental care is a critical component of overall health, yet the state’s dental care reimbursement to community health centers, like the Hilltown, Musante, or Greenfield Centers, is far below what it costs them to actually provide the care. My bill would mandate a modest increase in the MassHealth dental payment to community health centers.
Allow Spouses to Serve as Caregivers
SD.1040, An Act allowing spouses to serve as caregivers
Current state policy penalizes seniors and people with disabilities who wish to use their spouse as their caregiver, despite their spouse’s ability to provide loving care at costs below that of nursing homes. My bill will reverse that policy and direct MassHealth to recognize and compensate a spouse as caregiver if requested by the patient, just as other family relatives are permitted to serve as caregivers.
Fight Pancreatic Cancer
SD.1045, An Act to reduce incidence and death from pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is estimated to be the second deadliest cancer in Massachusetts, by cancer type, with 990 deaths in 2019. In 2019, I served on a Special Commission to Study Pancreatic Cancer, which was created to identify areas of unmet needs in pancreatic cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as provide recommendations for additional legislation or support to meet these needs. My bill establishes a comprehensive pancreatic cancer initiative to provide coordinated pancreatic cancer prevention, screening, education and support programs.
Our local public health system is the front line in protecting the public, and COVID has demonstrated just how much we rely on local health officials. Yet our fragmented and under-resourced system is inadequate to meet the needs, particularly in small towns where the board of health may be volunteer, and the state contributes no annual funding to municipalities. My bill sets statewide standards and provides funds to ensure that everyone has access to a core set of public health protections.
Make Insurance Work for Patients
SD.1184, An Act to improve the health insurance prior authorization process
Health plans routinely require patients to obtain pre-approval, also known as prior authorization, for a prescribed health service or medication as a way to control costs. Obtaining prior authorizations can be difficult for consumers and providers due to the different forms and processes each health plan uses. My bill prohibits plans from modifying or rescinding prior authorizations and requires transparency about prior authorization policies in communications to providers and consumers.
Health Equity at All Levels In Government (HEALING)
SD.2026, An Act Establishing Health Equity at All Levels In Government
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how inequities owed to generations of structural racism and socioeconomic inequality can mean the difference between life and death. Our health depends more on factors like housing, education, transportation, and the environment than it does on medical care. My bill centers health equity throughout government, with leadership in the Governor’s office and empowered community voices to build a culture of health equity.