Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Commonwealth Magazine: MA House budget to be released on Weds; agreement on priorities leads to worry

"THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE budget, which will be released from the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, will include major new investments in early childhood education targeted at expanding the workforce and helping providers that offer subsidized care to low-income families.  
However, the changes, which are aimed at increasing the accessibility of childcare, do not address the problem that many middle-class families have affording the state’s expensive private pay childcare system.  
“We have to start somewhere, and the subsidized programs serve our most vulnerable students and children,” said House Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch at a press conference at Ellis Early Learning in Boston. Peisch chaired a special commission that examined the economics of early childhood education and made myriad recommendations for improving the system, to the tune of $1.5 billion a year."
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"KEY BEACON HILL lawmakers said on Monday they were supportive of Gov. Charlie Baker’s bid to tilt health care more toward behavioral and primary care, but they worried that the $1.4 billion spending mandate over three years would result in higher health care spending.

At a hearing of the Legislature’s Health Care Financing Committee, Baker and Marylou Sudders, his secretary of health and human services, pushed for passage of legislation that would require health care providers to boost spending by 30 percent over three years on primary care, behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, and geriatric care.

The bill requires providers to boost their spending in those areas while still remaining within the health care cost benchmark established by the Health Policy Commission. But several members of the committee said they were concerned about the potential for a rapid runup in health care spending. "
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