Health Insurance Health Reform Public Policy

Access to health insurance ≠ Access to health care.

Is the Massachusetts health reform a success?  Yes and no.

In terms of increasing access to health care, it has been an unqualified success.  According to the Economist, only1.9% of Massachusetts residents were uninsured in 2010.

Massachusetts’ health reform has not been able to offer universal access to health care or to constrain costs. ” One in five working-age adults say they have trouble finding a doctor who will see them…Spending on MassHealth, the programme for the poor, rose 40% between 2006 and 2010….average monthly premiums rose by 12% between 2006 and 2008. True, a higher share of firms now offer coverage, but they are also shifting costs for that coverage to employees”

Massachusetts is trying to legislatively block health premium increases.  Reducing health insurance cost, however, will likely drive down provider reimbursement and either increase cost sharing or decrease access to health care.

The key takeaway from this post is the following: “Access to health insurance does not guarantee access to health care.”


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