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Friday, March 16, 2012

A 5 year progress report on "Romneycare"

       To listen to the opponents of the federal health care reform legislation, critically called "Obamacare," you would think that it will be an expensive failure for our country.  But wouldn't you know it just in time for this year's election the 5 year results are in from Massachusetts on their health care program which was the model for the federal legislation.  A report just released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts paints a different portrait of the law than what you might be hearing from presidential candidates today. Massachusetts has under 2% of its population without health insurance down from 8% when the law was enacted and just 0.2% of children without health insurance.  These numbers are by far the lowest in the nation (16.3% is the US average) and comparable to many Western European countries. This is what the report states:
"The overarching goal of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law was to achieve nearly universal health insurance coverage for the state's 6.5 million residents. In the five years since the law's enactment, that goal has been effectively achieved. An estimated 98.1 per­cent of Massachusetts residents have health insurance coverage, including 99.8 percent of children. The gains in coverage, most of which occurred during the first two years of health reform implementation, have been maintained despite the effects of the nation's severe and sustained economic downturn.
Expanded coverage has been accompanied by improved access to care, especially among low-income adults, with significant increases in physician office visits and the use of preventive care, and in the percentage of adults with a usual source of care. Fewer residents report they have unmet needs for care, with decreases especially notable among middle- and low-income residents, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with chronic diseases.
Almost 78 percent of insured Massachusetts residents receive their coverage through an employer and, although the number of enrollees in employer-based coverage has fallen since the start of the economic recession, employer participation in offering health insurance has risen under health reform. Seventy-seven percent of Massachusetts employers with three or more employees offered health insurance coverage to their employees in 2010, up seven percentage points since 2005. This compares with 69 percent of employers offering health coverage to their workers nationwide.
Public support for health reform has remained stable since the law was enacted. Two-thirds of the state's adults say they support Massachusetts health reform, and levels of support are similar among men and women, younger and older adults, and people with higher and lower incomes. The stakeholders and interest groups that helped forge an agreement on the 2006 law, including political leaders, consumer advocates, business groups, labor unions, hospitals, physicians, and health insurers, have remained engaged and largely supportive."
So if it's good for Massachusetts why is it bad for the rest of the Country??

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