THE PIONEER BLOG

Is CHIA’s Drug Cost Data Reliable?

Earlier this year, the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) released its Annual Report on the Performance of the Massachusetts Health Care System for 2020.  The Massachusetts Legislature relies on CHIA data when considering bills to regulate drug costs and prices. The advocacy group Health Care for All reported that CHIA data showed prescription drug spending grew by 7.7 percent in 2020, more than twice the benchmark – but the most reliable data on prescription drugs indicates that spending in 2020 was essentially flat. 

How did tax hikes work out for Connecticut?

Pioneer Institute’s Charlie Chieppo shares data on the economic impact of tax increases in Connecticut – which has the 2nd highest state and local tax burden in the country and ranks 49th in private sector wage and job growth. As Massachusetts considers a proposal to raise income taxes, it is important to learn from the experience of other states. Learn more.

Jeff Wetzler, Co-founder of Transcend, on Innovation in School Design

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Jeff Wetzler, co-founder of Transcend, a nonprofit focused on innovation in school design that works with hundreds of school communities in over two dozen states in America.

How would a tax increase impact the MA economy?

Pioneer’s Charlie Chieppo explains how an income tax hike in Massachusetts will impact retirees and small business owners – not just “the super rich.”

Globe columnist Shirley Leung makes our argument on the tax hike amendment

In today’s Boston Globe, business columnist Shirley Leung raises important questions about who exactly will be impacted by the tax hike amendment that will appear on the Massachusetts ballot in November. The answer is retirees and small business owners – and we have the data to prove it.

Is this PBM tactic blocking healthcare access?

Utilization Management (UM) was originally a strategy designed to improve the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of physician prescribing. However, UM has grown exponentially over the last decade, becoming more a tactic for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to manage costs to benefit their bottom line.

Gargantuan Graduation Gift: Biden Writes Check From Taxpayers To College Grads

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Dr. Beth Akers, AEI Senior Fellow, about the recent presidential executive order to cancel an estimated $500 billion in outstanding student debt. They explore who benefits, who pays, and the likely effects on tuition and the borrowing habits of future students.

Public Comment on Allston Multimodal Project

We remain pleased with the decision of MassDOT to concentrate its efforts on the all at-grade option for the throat area of the Allston Multimodal Project as recommend by Pioneer Institute and others. However, we are deeply concerned that the construction will negatively impact commuters coming into Boston from points west.  With turnpike lane reductions and work-zone slow orders, congestion during the multi-year project will no doubt cause extreme delays for drivers. Therefore, reliable, on-time commuter rail is a necessity as the project moves forward.

MBTA’s Runaway Crisis: Legacy of Neglect Demands Comprehensive Reform

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Andrew Bagley, Vice President for Policy and Research at Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, about their recent report entitled, The MBTA Crisis is Complicated – Fixing It Will Be Too, diving into the details on why the T is in crisis and what the public must demand of policy makers to get it back on track.

Massachusetts Needs a Comprehensive Performance Management Framework

Massachusetts tried making a performance structure, but in 2014 it was discontinued. Today, the state lacks a comprehensive structure to track progress.

The Realities Behind US Healthcare Spending

Healthcare policy is an all-encompassing term. It plays a role in every individual’s life; how it is curated, developed, and maintained has a significant long-term impact on the quality of life of any given community. It is critical that policymakers consistently adapt and amend healthcare policies in the ever-changing global pricing and affordability environment while providing funding support for optimal quality of care.

Cures for Patients, Not Health Plan Profits, Make Drugs Valuable

To the astonishment of many observers, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recently concluded that a $2.1 million gene therapy for a life-threatening blood disorder called beta thalassemia, is priced cost-effectively. The surprise was especially pleasant, given that ICER’s methodology had, in the past, displayed bias against rare disease treatments and undervalued the lives of people living with disabilities.

School-Age Population Remains Steady, but Boston Struggles With Declining Enrollment

Hopefully, new leadership will ensure that the system makes the changes necessary to improve public education in Boston. Otherwise, enrollment declines will continue. 

Is a Universal Basic Income the future? You decide.

  With the cost of living on the rise, inflation eating away at the average American’s paycheck, and an economy that’s generated fierce debates about inequality and poverty, many have called for systemic reforms and even more radical  changes.  Some have embraced what’s called a universal basic income; others not so much. So what is UBI? How does it work in practice? What do the researchers think of it?  Here’s the general overview.  What’s the purpose? First proposed by Thomas Spence in the 18th century, UBI is a redistribution program in which all adults receive a regularly occurring stipend; think of an earned income credit for everybody. The concept drew attention in England during the 1920s, resurfaced in Western Europe […]

After 7 years, Massachusetts is still one of the least financially transparent states

In 48 states, elected officials are required to submit annual public financial disclosures. Among these states, Pioneer Institute ranks Massachusetts lowest in terms of the transparency of those financial disclosures.  Statements of Financial Interests (SFI’s) are designed to provide government transparency by giving the public some visibility into the financial information of public officials.  They allow voters to see if officials’ actions could be viewed as being in their personal interest rather than the public’s interest.  The SFIs are available to the public for inspection upon request.  Seven years ago, Pioneer identified three problems with the commonwealth’s financial disclosure system in its study Weak and Out of Reach, and recommended ways to improve the disclosures. In the years since, we […]