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Analysis: Misconstrued Conclusions On State Health Law Costs

This article is more than 9 years old.

So here goes:

Yesterday we linked to a story in The Boston Herald about a report on state health reform by researchers at Yale and The Wharton School.

Today I got email from Jeff-Levin Scherz, who blogs on Managing Health Care Costs, setting the record straight. He writes: "The Herald article on the Wharton/Yale research on MA health care reform that you highlighted yesterday totally misconstrued the conclusions."

Here's his post in its entirety:

Here’s the first paragraph of an article from the Boston Herald abstracted by CommonHealth yesterday:

"The nation’s anemic economic recovery could suffer a brutal blow at the hands of Obamacare, critics say, as a new study shows mandated health care in Massachusetts cut $6,000 from some Bay State residents’ annual pay."

Here’s the conclusion from the actual paper.

"Our results suggest that mandate-based reform has the potential to be a very efficient approach
for expanding health insurance coverage nationally."

The same researchers previously reported that health care reform in Massachusetts decreased the number of uninsured, and:

Using new measures of preventive care, we find some evidence that hospitalizations for preventable conditions were reduced. The reform affected nearly all age, gender, income, and race categories. We also examine costs on the hospital level and find that hospital cost growth did not increase after the reform in Massachusetts

So – the researchers conclude that there is less “dead weight loss” from a mandate than from a broad-based tax to cover health care costs. Further, Massachusetts is covering more people and not spending appreciably more. The Connector Authority (our health insurance exchange) is set to announce a second year of premium decreases.

Health Care Reform in Massachusetts is working – the Herald headline notwithstanding.

This program aired on April 12, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter 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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