HEALTH NOW! INVESTS IN PUBLIC HEALTH.
Help people use primary care instead of expensive emergency care and hospitalization
Health Now! provides funding to expand the supply of community health workers, a group of outreach educators, health educators, and health advisors. Community health workers promote healthy living by educating community members about disease and injury prevention, intervention, and treatment. They assist community members in better understanding and accessing health and human services systems, particularly in low income, minority, and immigrant communities where the rate of uninsurance is highest and where people have had to rely most heavily on emergency care.
The expanded community health worker program will:
Reach out to underserved populations, serving as bilingual and bicultural resources
Assist community members in enrolling in health insurance programs
Engage in community-based health education, including the dangers of tobacco use
Through their work, community health workers will help to address the disparities in quality health care among racial and ethnic minorities in the Commonwealth by increasing use of preventative services, heightening awareness of health risks, and connecting people to appropriate, culturally competent services.
Finally, Health Now! will improve access to regular primary care and prevention services because 85,000 new people will have health coverage.
HEALTH NOW! WILL HELP STABILIZE OUR HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM.
Demand on the Free Care Pool will decline as more people become insured for their medical care, the number of smoking-related illnesses decreases, and the overall health of the public, specifically low-income individuals, improves.
Health Now! will provide $50 million in federal matching funds for the Free Care Pool to reduce its projected shortfall. In addition the bill provides $50 million from the new tobacco(read more)tax revenue to cover deficits in the existing MassHealth programs for children and others.
The bill includes necessary MassHealth rate increases in the estimated costs of the new access programs.
The legislation also seeks federal matching funds for the prescription drug program for seniors and people with disabilities, helping to stabilize the program and make prescription drugs affordable to low-income people.
Alliance for a Healthy New England
The Health Now! campaign is affiliated with the Alliance for a Healthy New England, a six-state initiative spearheaded by the American Cancer Society, Community Catalyst and the New England Council of Medical Societies. The Alliance seeks to increase tobacco taxes in each of the six New England states with the dual goal of decreasing tobacco use among children and adults and increasing access to health care, particularly for the uninsured. The Alliance is leading a coordinated approach to the tobacco tax increase, while each state coalition has determined its own goals for the specific use of the funds.