Chapter 58

AN ACT PROVIDING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, QUALITY, ACCOUNTABLE HEALTH CARE 

INTRODUCTION

The core of Massachusetts health reform is legislation. Massachusetts enacted Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 to increase access to affordable, quality health care for each of its residents.  Since the enactment of Chapter 58 in 2006, the legislature has amended parts of the legislation multiple times, and implementation has resulted in numerous reports, agency regulations, and implementing entities. This resource opens up the language of the law to allow you to more easily search and understand the legislative structures of Massachusetts health reform and associated regulations.

For each section of the Massachusetts health reform law, this site allows you to view:

  1. The most up-to-date text of the health reform law;
  2. The legislative source of the section;
  3. A concise summary of its effect; and
  4. Links to resources related to implementation of the section.

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This site will be updated at the end of each year's legislative session to reflect any changes occurring during the prior year. We welcome your comments, corrections and suggestions; send them to policy@bluecrossmafoundation.org.

STRUCTURAL OVERVIEW OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH REFORM LAW

Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 is called a “session law,” which is composed of General Law and special law provisions.

  1. General Law provisions: Massachusetts General Laws (MGLs) are standing laws of general applicability, arranged into chapters and subdivided into sections. This can be confusing because session laws that make changes to General Laws, such as Chapter 58, are also named chapters and are divided into sections. The legal source section of each Chapter 58 provision identifies the MGL source and special law amendment applicable to that provision.

    Note: Many of the General Law sections changed by Chapter 58 have been subsequently amended since 2006. This site includes only the most current version. In some places where Chapter 58 made changes to only a small part of a General Law, the pre-existing provisions of General Law that were unaffected by health reform were omitted. Those omissions are indicated in the text as “[unchanged text not shown]”. In addition, a few of the changes Chapter 58 made to General Laws were subsequently repealed and replaced by somewhat similar language inserted in a different chapter of the General Laws. This site shows only the replacement language, but for these sections, a legal note explains how it replaced provisions originally included in Chapter 58.
     
  2. Special law provisions: These are free-standing provisions that generally have specific or time-bound applicability. This site presents all of the special law sections included in Chapter 58 in their amended form, if applicable, as well as the effective dates of the General Law changes made by the statute.
     
  3. Appropriations language: Special law provisions including appropriations language authorize the state to spend funds for a particular purpose. The site shows the original appropriations included in the 2006 Chapter 58 legislation, though they have expired.

The original text of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 is available on the state legislative website. The bill text presented on this site is the current health reform law in Massachusetts, updated as of Nov. 1, 2010, reflecting subsequent legislative actions.  

All of the source legal materials can be found at www.malegislature.gov, under "Existing Laws."

This resource is based on materials originally researched and written by Health Care For All.