MEDICINE

A couple of weeks before her planned surgery in July 2018, Mariel Addis scanned her company’s new short-term disability policy. Addis, a 53-year-old transgender woman, expected to be out of work for three to four weeks following male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. The Florence, Massachusetts, resident assumed her disability insurance would kick in after seven days of sick leave, as it would for other surgeries.

Then her eyes landed on a list of exclusions. Addis’ procedure was considered elective and would not be covered.

Baker Outlines Steps To Lower Medicaid Drug Prices

Jan 25, 2019

It’s an eye-popping number: $1.9 billion. It’s what Massachusetts spent last year on drugs prescribed to patients covered by MassHealth, and it’s nearly double what it was in 2012.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget for the coming year includes a plan to disrupt the trend, a move he says will save $80 million.

It starts with direct price negotiations. Baker says the proposal is aimed at 20 drugs pending approval or recently approved by the FDA.

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Many of us know from experience: it’s much harder to get an appointment for mental health or substance use care than for most physical illnesses.

The opioid epidemic cost Massachusetts $15.2 billion in 2017.

That startling tally, a combination of expenses and lost labor, is explained in a report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF). It’s the first to offer a thorough assessment of the economic damage caused by rising opioid use and deaths in Massachusetts. The authors say it’s a conservative estimate because they couldn’t find data to measure some considerable costs.

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