Wall Street Journal On Massachusetts Health Insurance Law

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In a Jan.31, 2007, Wall Street Journal opinion piece "condemningMassachusetts's landmark effort to insure our citizens," Shikha Dalmia, asenior analyst at the Reason Foundation, could not "wait (for thefacts) to render a verdict" on the state's health insurance law, JonKingsdale, executive director for the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Authority, writes in a Journalletter to the editor.

Kingsdale writes, "Dalmia claims that spending for our subsidized planwill cost 85% 'more than originally projected' during the next fiscalyear," but the "governor's budget proposal calls for $869million," and the "original estimate by the conference committee thatwrote the legislation in 2006 pegged it at $725 million," adding,"That's 20%, not 85%." In addition, Kingsdale writes that whileDalmia "claims that inflated demand combined with onerous regulationstriggered premium increases of 12%" for 2008, "premiums had beenrising 12% or so prior to reform," and the state is "expecting thattrend to moderate" under the health insurance law.

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He continues, "As of July 1, 2007, the typical uninsured individual inMassachusetts could buy a policy that covered twice as much for half thepremium as that person could have bought before reform," which is"one example of how we are helping to control costs, not increasethem." Kingsdale also addresses Dalmia's claim "that the cheapestplan available to a couple in their 50s" costs $8,200. He writes that thecoverage is "actually much less, and when the couple takes advantage ofreform to buy it with pre-tax dollars, the price is nearer to one-half" ofDalmia's "assertion."

Kingsdale concludes, "Across the country, more and more people are goingwithout health insurance every day," but in "just 18 months, Massachusetts has newlyenrolled over 300,000." He adds, "Now there's a fact. And better yet,this one is true" (Kingsdale, Wall Street Journal, 2/7).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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