Many have proclaimed the Massachusetts health care reform plan a success, noting the greater than expected enrollment rates in the program’s first 18 months. But some observers sound notes of concern.
One consequence of the high enrollment, primarily among those who qualify for subsidies, is that the program is projected to cost $153 million more than budgeted, even before taking into account continued growth in enrollment expected over the next several months. There are also reports of shortages of primary care providers, as the newly insured line up for medical visits. More than 340,000 formerly uninsured citizens of MA – more than half of the estimated 600,000 who were uninsured in 2006 – now have coverage.
Policy makers considering health reform, including states and Congress, are looking to Massachusetts as a laboratory to inform their proposals. How is implementation of universal coverage progressing in Massachusetts? How is the Connector model working? Does affordability remain an issue for implementation of the individual mandate? How is the employer community responding to the reforms? Are quality and access being addressed along with coverage? What steps are being taken to meet the challenges?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a May 19 briefing. Panelists were: Jon Kingsdale, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority; John McDonough, Health Care for All; Matthew Fishman, Partners HealthCare; and Grace-Marie Turner; Galen Institute. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)