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FactCheck.org Offers Reality Check on Claims About MA Health Reform


In a pre-emptive strike aimed at heading off false claims about Massachusetts health care reform before they multiply in the coming presidential campaign, Factcheck.org has just posted a great big public reality check here.

Factcheck is a public truth-seeking project that tries to help voters be better informed and less confused, a non-partisan non-profit funded by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It also accepts public donations. Here are the bullet points on their findings on Massachusetts health reform:

-The major components of the state and federal law are similar, but details vary. The federal law put a greater emphasis on cost-control measures, for instance. Massachusetts is just now tackling that.

-The state law was successful on one big goal: A little more than 98 percent of state residents now have insurance.

-Claims that the law is "bankrupting" the state are greatly exaggerated. Costs rose more quickly than expected in the first few years, but are now in line with what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation had estimated.

-Small-business owners are perhaps the least happy stakeholders. Cheaper health plans for them through the state exchange haven’t materialized, as they hoped.

-Despite claims to the contrary, there’s no clear evidence that the law had an adverse effect on waiting times. In fact, 62 percent of physicians say it didn’t.

-Public support has been high. One poll found that 68.5 percent of nonelderly adults supported the law in 2006; 67 percent still do.

But don't stop there. Readers, please fact-check the fact-checkers! If you have the time to peruse their full report — which is beautifully clear and takes only a few minutes — please let us know: In your opinion, is it on the mark? Does it miss anything crucial?

This program aired on March 28, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth blog.

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