Those pesky Massachusetts residents just refuse to hate health reform

The Massachusetts health reform law, now five years old, has the support of a high and rising percentage of people who are subject to it. The latest poll from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Boston Globe shows 63 percent of residents support is compared to just 21 percent opposed. The percentage in favor is up 10 points from a year and a half ago.

On the national scene Republicans would dearly love to portray the Massachusetts law, which provided the template for the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as a dismal failure. That’s kind of hard to do when the people who’ve been living with it like it. One of the big criticisms leveled at the Massachusetts law is that it didn’t bring down costs. But the law’s primary aim was to reach near-universal health insurance coverage, and that’s been achieved. People in Massachusetts –unlike some of those outside the state– are able to separate out the issues of coverage and cost control.

Cost control is a big challenge –especially since one person’s cost control is another’s revenue loss- and yet Massachusetts is set to make progress on that issue, too. The newly issued Price Variation in Health Care Services report is a good example of the approach the state is taking in this area. It has lit a fire under providers but also health plans, which need to step up and prove they are adding value through medical cost management rather than just passing along provider pricing and market power.

June 6, 2011

One thought on “Those pesky Massachusetts residents just refuse to hate health reform”

  1. The Massachusetts health reform law did what it was supposed to: ensure universal health insurance. People who claim that it will accurately predict how the ACA will fail are ignoring the reform’s biggest achievement.

    The health reform will serve as a trial for the federal version to come on 2014. By uncovering possible problems, i.e. high costs and long wait times due to doctor shortage, this will provide the federal government with time to make it better.

    What doctors and naysayers can do until then is start using new and different ways to provide health care like telemedicine. Through it a doctor can ‘see’ patients from all around the country without leaving his office.

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