© 2023
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Trump's lawyer says he's been told of New York indictment, making Trump first ex-president charged with a crime

Health Reform Law's Anniversary Marked

By Paul Tuthill


Springfield, MA – The fifth anniversary of the signing of the landmark health care reform law in Massachusetts is being observed ( today ) Tuesday. It is an occasion to assess the laws impact on healthcare access and costs. It is also an occasion for partisan politicking WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports ..

Before the healthcare reform law about 90 percent of Massachusetts residents had health insurance..Now it is about 98 percent .the most of any state.. That's an additional 500 thousand people who obtained healthcare coverage in the last five years, according to Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, the executive director of the advocacy group, Healthcare For All
Although the vast majority of people in Massachusetts are covered by group insurance policies, the new law established a state bureaucracy..the Commonwealth Connector Authority..that was able to develop a market for individuals to purchase affordable health insurance. And, that in turn helped with public acceptance of the law
Studies have shown the Massachusetts law reduced racial and ethnic gaps in healthcare access.
But even the healthcare reform laws strongest advocates concede it has not lived up to one big expectation that near universal insurance coverage would drive down costs.. Healthcare costs in Massachusetts remain above the national average, according to Elliott Fisher of the Dartmouth Medical School who has investigated healthcare for the elderly
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has made lower healthcare costs a priority for his second term. He's filed legislation to move Massachusetts away from the traditional fee for service model.
It was Patrick's predecessor, Republican Mitt Romney who signed the landmark health care reform law on April 12 2006. Democrats, today, are going out of their way to give Romney full credit, according to Tim Vercellotti, a political science professor at Western New England College..
The law, Romney signed requires every adult in Massachusetts to have health insurance, or pay a penalty on their state income tax. The individual mandate , as its known, has been attacked by Republican critics of the national health care reform law, and is the centerpiece of the many court cases seeking to overturn the federal law..
Vercellotti says that by linking Romney to healthcare reform in Massachusetts, Democrats hope to weaken his chances of getting the Republican nomination for President, or neutralize healthcare reform as an issue
Romney has said he believes it is alright for Massachusetts to impose an individual mandate for health insurance, but not for the federal government to do so. In a video, Monday, announcing that he was creating an exploratory committee to run for President, Romney made no mention of signing the healthcare reform law when he was Massachusetts Governor
In the video, Romney stressed jobs and the economy and criticized, in general terms, policies of the Obama administration..