Massachusetts’ health care law fails as a model for national reform. That’s the finding of a new report released today in Washington DC by physicians with Harvard Medical School and our consumer advocate colleagues at Public Citizen.
Massachusetts’ private health insurance mandate has not insured all citizens, left many “insured” but without health care, and comes at too high a cost for individuals and the state.
On this blog, I’ve talked about some of the failures of Massachusetts, including:
- a lack of support from people who are actually affected by it
- increasing premiums for the people who can least afford it
- decreasing enrollment numbers as the cost of care remains citizens’ #1 concern
- and, poll results showing Americans oppose requiring every American to provide proof of private insurance when they are told they would have to pay for coverage or face tax liens and other penalties, as required under the Massachusetts plan
Today’s analysis highlighted these, and a host of other problems Massachusetts is experiencing, including out-of-control costs:
- The plan is far more expensive than expected, costing $1.1 billion in fiscal 2008 and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009.
- The Connector adds 4.5% in administrative costs to every plan it brokers - on top of the overhead from private health insurers.
- Massachusetts’ governor was forced to divert money from other health care programs – including public clinic and hospital funding – in order to pay for cost overruns under the law.
- The fine for individuals not purchasing insurance in 2009 has increased to $1068.
- The reform has decimated the state’s safety net: free care patient
visits have decreased by only about one-third while free care funding
has been diverted to pay for the reform plan.
The Massachusetts plan fails to provide its citizens with affordable, quality health care because it tries to force citizens into the private health insurance market. Americans want, and deserve, a public alternative. Opening Medicare to citizens of any age who wish to join is the right public option.