MASSACHUSETTS' HEALTH CARE REFORM IS FAILING
March 2, 2009
Massachusetts has been lauded for its health care reform, but the program is a failure. Created solely to achieve universal insurance coverage, the plan does not even begin to address the other essential components of a successful health care system, says Dr. Susanne King.
What would such a system provide? The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has defined five criteria for health care reform. Coverage should be: universal, not tied to a job, affordable for individuals and families, affordable for society, and it should provide access to high-quality care for everyone.
The Massachusetts' plan flunks on all counts, says King:
- It hasn't achieved universal health care: more than 20,000 Bostonians are without coverage.
- It doesn't address the problem of insurance being connected to jobs; for individuals, this mean their insurance is not continuous if they change or lose jobs, and for employers, especially small business, health insurance is an expense they can ill afford.
- It's not affordable for many individuals and families; for example, for an individual earning $31,213, the cheapest plan is $9,872.
- The cost of the reform had been formidable and it does not assure access to care; spending for the Commonwealth Care subsidized program has doubled, from $630 million in 2007 to an estimated $1.3 billion for 2009, which is not sustainable.
Source: Susanne L. King, "Mass. health care reform is failing us," Boston Globe, March 2, 2009.
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