Polanowicz focuses keynote on Affordable Care Act at June 25 Health Law Conference

Issue August 2013 By Marc A. D’Antonio

The MBA's Health Law Section hosted its annual conference June 25. The program provided attendees with an opportunity to hear from expert panels on trends in health care fraud enforcement, insurance coverage of mental health care and advocacy initiatives to improve access to essential mental health services.

"We were so honored and excited to have Secretary John Polanowicz, a recognized leader in health care quality and costs," said Conference Co-chair Lorianne Sainsbury-Wong.

Polanowicz offered insight on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) both on the state and federal level. With 97 percent of its residents covered with health insurance, Polanowicz indicated that other states will be looking to Massachusetts for guidance, particularly as the country nears the 2014 triggering provisions of the commonwealth's implementation of the ACA.

The day concluded with a presentation from Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Boston), chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. Sanchez discussed HB1051, "An Act Preventing Unnecessary Medical Debt." The committee's proposed bill expands existing state and federal protections for low and moderate income patients who incur medical debt. He indicated that more than 50 percent of Massachusetts residents who filed for bankruptcy did so because of medical debt. One of the bills overarching goals is to address not only acute health care costs but also the costs associated with medical bills.