Sunday, January 29, 2012

Romney Should be Proud of Massachusetts Health Care

I don't understand why Mitt Romney is running away from the Massachusetts health reform that was enacted in 2006 under his reign as Governor. They are in their 6th year and by any standards it can be considered a success.

The plan included Medicaid expansion, subsidized private health insurance, a health insurance exchange, insurance market reforms and requirements for individuals and employers. Is the fact that the Federal Accountable Care Act (Obama-care) has many provisions of Mass. health reform the reason Mr. Romney and the GOP want to bury it's success?

Oh, you didn't know it was a success?  How strange...

Let's look at the plan and what it has done for the citizens of that State. Insurance rates did not sky-rocket and employer-sponsored insurance is still strong. Access to health care remained strong and there were reductions in emergency department visits. Hospital stays declined and there were improvements in self-reported health status. Since the act, 94.2% of adults now have health coverage. That compares to 77.7% in the rest of the Country. Remember the scare that employers will drop insurance coverage when The Accountable Care Act is fully implemented?

In Massachusetts more than 2/3 of adults age 19-64 reported coverage through an employer, significantly higher than before health reform. Since Massachusetts Health Reform, more employees rated their employer sponsored insurance plans as very good or excellent. Patients also were more likely to have preventive care visits (up 5.9%), a specialist visit (up 3.7%), dental care (up 5%) and even have a usual place to go when they were sick or needed advice (up 4.7%). Also these patients were more likely to report that they got doctor care, tests and treatment when it was needed. Readers, this is amazing yet Mitt Romney and the GOP are running from it like Herpes.

OK, it's not all rosy. The Massachusetts 2006 health reform initiative did not tackle the high cost of health care in the state. Insurance premiums continue to rise and health care costs in Mass., just like the rest of the Country, continue to grow faster than inflation. Despite that, it did become more affordable because there was less out of pocket health care spending by patients (excluding premiums). There was no change in patients' problems paying medical bills before or after health reform.  Health Care in the United States just plain costs too much.

What does it say about Mr. Romney and the rest of the GOP that they wouldn't take this successful ball and run with it?

If I were on the Mitt Romney's team, I would tell him to change the dialog. He should be bragging about what was done in Massachusetts. He should take credit for it and reveal these statistics. With the political noise and posturing, American's deserve to know the facts.

If Mitt wants to run from something, try the dog on the car roof or his trickle down economics.  Now that would be something worth hiding. 

2 comments: said...

Very enlightening statistics!

Fred M. said...

This is so well written. Thanks for the information. I hope it is read far and wide.

When to Use Urgent Care

We all know that Emergency Departments are over-crowded with long waits and exorbitant fees.  Free standing Urgent Care is a great solu...