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

Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013
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Top (from left to right): Conference Co-Chair Lorianne Sainsbury-Wong, Esq. of Health Law Advocates Inc.; John Polanowicz, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services; Conference Co-Chair J. Michael Scully, Esq. of Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP. Bottom: Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, speaks to MBA Health Law Conference attendees. Photos by Marc 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 Ploanowicz, 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% of its residents covered with health insurance, Polanowicz indicated that other states will be looking to Massachusetts for guidance particularly as we near 2014 triggering provisions of the Commonwealth's implementation of the ACA.

The day concluded with a presentation from Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. Sanchez discussed H.B.1051 "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 over ½ 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.