Massachusetts Health Insurance Law Could Be Model For US

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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"The pioneering Massachusetts program to provide health insurance for all citizens looks more and more successful with each passing month," which suggests that the "plan could become a model for universal health coverage for other states or the nation," a New York Times editorial states.

According to the Times, the health insurance law "has yielded a commensurate drop in the number of 'free riders,' those who use hospital emergency rooms and community health centers for routine care that they don't pay for." The editorial adds that the "cost of that uncompensated care dropped from $166 million in the first quarter of fiscal [year] 2007 to $98 million in the first quarter of 2008."

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"Far more people have enrolled far more quickly than expected, driving up the total budget for subsidized care beyond Medicaid to $869 million in the next fiscal year, about half of which will be absorbed by the state and the other half by redirected federal funds," the editorial states, adding that the "cost per person is actually less than expected" and that the "program to date is fully financed."

According to the editorial, "That may still look like a lot of money, but universal coverage is vitally important to enhance the health of previously uninsured citizens." The Times concludes, "In the long run, full coverage should serve as a springboard toward reforming the health care system to deliver higher quality, more cost-effective care" (New York Times, 8/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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