Report Finds Looming Financial Woes From MA Health Reform

The findings don't bode well for national health reform, the authors say
The findings don't bode well for national health reform, the authors say

The dire findings include rising health care costs that disproportionately burden lower-middle income families, no drop in emergency room visits, a "financial crisis" for the state’s safety-net hospitals and community health centers and the rise of "skimpy, inadequate" high-deductible health insurance plans.

"The results do not augur well for the similarly structured Affordable Care Act," say the authors of the study, released jointly by Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care and the state chapter of Physicians For a National Health Program.

According to the report's executive summary:

Most of the gains in coverage have come from expansions in publicly subsidized insurance. This largely represented a shift of patients from the state’s former Free Care Pool, which compensated hospitals and community health centers directly for care of the uninsured, to private insurance plans, which is a more costly way to provide care. The reform did not lead to a sustained increase in employer-sponsored coverage, but did slow declining employer coverage. Instead of dropping coverage, employers in Massachusetts have increased cost sharing, shifting costs on to employees, leading to rapidly rising underinsurance after health reform. The use of high-deductible plans more than tripled for residents with private insurance, and good insurance coverage at small businesses all but disappeared over a few short years after reform.

This program aired on October 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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