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Health Care Reform Is Working In Massachusetts – Is It Really? an untimely press release?

Posted Apr 06 2009 7:50pm

I think we can certainly say the cost is being shared by the consumer, much of it ending up in balance billing, that people can’t afford to pay, so I wonder what have we accomplished here?  We have hospitals struggling to survive and laying off employees, so what does this report really have to say?  It has nothing to say about better healthcare.  Unfortunately this report is only looking at the risk management side of the issue and not “real healthcare” and I don’t consider this a success by any means.  Check in for the next update on Desperate Hospitals this month and see what your opinion might be.  BD 

Study Finds That Business, Government, and Individuals Are Sharing Responsibility of Paying for Expenses Related to Massachusetts Health Care Reform

BOSTON--( BUSINESS WIRE )--A new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation finds that the overall distribution of spending on health insurance by employers, individuals, and government remained essentially the same between 2005, one year before passage of Massachusetts health reform, and 2007, one year after lawmakers passed the Massachusetts health care reform law. A critical component of the Massachusetts 2006 health reform statute was that the responsibility of paying for expanded access to health insurance be shared among the three groups.

“Shared Responsibility, Government, Business, and Individuals: Who Pays What for Health Reform?” is the first assessment of how the spending to insure hundreds of thousands of additional people under the Massachusetts health reform law is being shared. Researchers Robert Seifert, M.P.A., and Paul Swoboda, M.S., of the Center for Health Law and Economics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, compared spending on health insurance in 2005, before implementation of health care reform in Massachusetts with spending on insurance in 2007, one year after the law’s passage.

“The costs of health reform are being shared and no one group is contributing a greater share to coverage than they were before reform,” said Seifert. “This is important information to have as the state grapples with ways to sustain the law in the face of increasing health care costs.”

In 2007, employers and union health plans accounted for lightly less than half of the total spending on health insurance in Massachusetts; government accounted for approximately 30 percent; and individuals accounted for about a quarter. In 2005, the breakdown of spending was the same, which means that the policy goal set forth in Chapter 58 that each sector paying for health insurance in Massachusetts continue to share the responsibility is being met.

“This report is yet another measure of health reform’s success,” said Jarrett T. Barrios, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, which funded the report. “When this law was passed, there was a promise that employers, government, and individuals would share the expenses of expanded access to care, and that’s what’s happened.”

The report also finds that the policy goal of paying for coverage while reducing spending on the uninsured — a crucial underpinning of federal support for the law in the form of a Medicaid waiver — is being met. From 2005 to 2007, spending on health services for the uninsured in Massachusetts fell by 40 percent, from $1.8 billion to $1.1 billion.

The full report is available at

More about the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

The mission of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is to expand access to health care. Through grants and policy initiatives, the Foundation works with public and private organizations to broaden health coverage and reduce barriers to care. It focuses on developing measurable and sustainable solutions that benefit uninsured, vulnerable and low-income individuals and families in the Commonwealth, and served as a catalyst for the pioneering Massachusetts health care reform law passed in 2006. The Foundation was founded in 2001 with an initial endowment of $55 million from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The Foundation operates separately from the company and is governed by its own 18-member Board of Directors. It is one of the largest private health philanthropies in New England and in 2007 was awarded the Paul Ylvisaker Award for Public Policy Engagement by the Council on Foundations.

Health Care Reform Is Working In Massachusetts

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