NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 18, 2008

Massachusetts's experiment in universal health coverage for state residents has taken a steep toll on a public hospital system that serves the disadvantaged.  Now, the Cambridge Health Alliance is facing a huge loss this year, according to the Boston Globe.

Before Massachusetts's universal health-care law was put in place, Cambridge Health Alliance says the state reimbursed it for the full cost of providing care to the uninsured:

  • Now, the hospital system is getting paid for only 60 percent to 70 percent of its cost for those patients.
  • And despite the state's efforts to achieve universal coverage, there are still plenty of people without insurance.

Last month, Dave Porell, the chief administrative officer of the health system's physician group, predicted a potential loss of $25 million to $35 million for the year,

The state's secretary of health and human services points out that Cambridge Health Alliance achieved a surplus of $1.6 million in fiscal 2007 and is receiving "substantially" more public funding this year:

  • The hospital system acknowledged it's getting more government money, but says it's not enough to keep up because the expenses for providing medical services have to be deducted.
  • Already the system is eliminating 300 jobs, or about 9 percent of its work force.

Source: Sarah Rubenstein, "Massachusetts Health Reform Bruises Safety-Net Hospitals," Wall Street Journal," March 17, 2010; based upon: Jeffrey Krasner, "Health provider predicts big loss," Boston Globe, March 17, 2008.

For Journal text:

For Globe text: 


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