Massachusetts health law serves as a model and a warning

By James Oliphant and Kim Geiger
Chicago Tribune
October 19, 2009

BOSTON – — Three years ago, Massachusetts passed the most sweeping health care law in the country, adopting a plan that closely resembles the proposals being considered by Congress — and a plan that now offers powerful “lessons learned” for the nation.

The Massachusetts system, like the proposals moving toward votes in the House and Senate, focused on three goals: making medical insurance nearly universal, fostering competition through a regulated insurance exchange, and helping low-income workers pay for coverage.

Today, the Bay State leads the nation with 96 percent of its residents covered by insurance, even more than some of the plans now before Congress. The employer-based insurance system remains intact despite fears that overhauling the old system might cause companies to pull back.

And at least some Massachusetts residents who buy their own coverage are paying less.

But there’s another side to the story: Health insurance premiums for most residents are going up. Many middle-class people who had insurance before the overhaul see little change — except that they’re spending more on health care.

“What we did was health insurance reform, not health care reform,” said Massachusetts state Sen. James Eldridge, a former proponent who now regrets having voted for the bill.

The article continues here.

Comments are closed.