Mass. Cost Control Legislation Seeks To Reconcile Wide Coverage, High Costs
The federal overhaul is often compared to Massachusetts' effort, but that state has yet to find a way to curtail health spending.
ABC (Video): New Massachusetts Health Care Bill To Address Costs
The White House says it drew inspiration from Massachusetts reforms signed into law by Mitt Romney when crafting Obamacare, which is supposed to curtail health care spending over the long haul. There's one problem: three years after expanding coverage in Massachusetts, the state is still grappling with how to pay for the reforms. The problem is so grave that the state legislature is working on new bill specifically aimed at curtailing health care spending. Paying for health care is not a problem unique to Massachusetts. But if expanding coverage is supposed to drive down costs in the long term, as advocates of health reform have suggested, it's an after-effect not yet felt in Massachusetts. Since the law was passed in 2006, per-capita spending on health care in the state has increased to 15 percent higher than the national average and health insurance premiums have skyrocketed to one of the highest in the nation, according to a study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation (Ono, 7/27).
In the meantime, a new Harvard study suggests to a writer that even a $1 co-pay can stop the poorest from getting care.
WBUR: Mass. Experience: Even $1 Co-Pay Can Block Needed Care
It's not enough to get everybody insured. You have to get everybody insured well enough so that they get the care they need. And in the case of very poor people, even a $1 or a $3 co-pay can be a barrier to care. That’s my take on a new Massachusetts-based study, done by Harvard Medical School researchers and just out in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Other states may want to take heed, now that the federal health overhaul has been upheld by the Supreme Court and they’re moving towards getting more people insured. All insurance is not the same, and for some, even the relatively generous Massachusetts Medicaid benefits may not be enough (Goldberg, 7/27).