The Latest Punch, Counterpunch on Mass Health Reform

The latest round of claims that the Massachusetts health coverage law is a mess include this op-ed from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in the Washington Post. Here's the Mass specific sentence:

While the Massachusetts plan has reduced the number of uninsured people, costs have been dramatically higher than expected.

This is a common misconception about the state's health coverage law that Michael Widmer at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation addressed in May. The Boston Globe and New York Times editorial pages weighed in over the weekend...refuting what the Times calls an "egregious misreading of what is happening in Massachusetts."

For the record, here are the estimated costs, for the first three years, of implementing the state's health coverage law. You'll notice that these projections, from the conference committee that negotiated the final bill, assume coverage of 90-95% of residents.

I'm waiting for the Here are the final actual Masshealth (Medicaid) and Commonwealth Care (subsidized coverage plan) spending numbers from the Patrick administration. I'll post them here. I expect, as the Taxpayers Foundation report indicates, they will be a little higher than the estimates. But coverage has increased to more than 97% of residents, so the state is covering more than the 90-95% on which the estimates were based.

The Pawlenty op-ed and other critiques of the law might be more about early posturing among possible Republican presidential contenders and other concerns about a sweeping health care law. Still, let's keep the numbers straight.

Martha Bebinger

This program aired on August 10, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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