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WBUR Poll Sheds Light On Mass. Health Care System23:52
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WBUR recently polled sick adults throughout the state to learn more about the quality and cost of Massachusetts health care. (AP).
WBUR recently polled sick adults throughout the state to learn more about the quality and cost of Massachusetts health care. (AP).

Thanks to the landmark health care reform law passed in 2006, 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have health insurance. But just because you have insurance doesn't mean you can get affordable care.

That's the clear message of new a poll conducted by WBUR in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

We polled Massachusetts residents who said they had a serious illness, medical condition, injury or disability requiring a lot of medical care, or spent at least one night in the hospital within the last year and got back a myriad of different responses. The poll finds that 78 percent of patient respondents say the cost of care is a very serious or somewhat serious problem. And 63 percent say the problem has gotten worse over the last five years.

One example was that of Tracy DeJesus, and her daughter, Giannie.

Giannie was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was just 2-years-old. Tracy had insurance through her job at a dental office, so she thought everything would be OK.

Tracy DeJesus and her daughter, Giannie, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)
Tracy DeJesus and her daughter, Giannie, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)

It wasn't.

After all, a little girl with diabetes needs more than just doctor visits and medications; she also needs testing supplies and high quality. It was all too much for DeJesus to afford. She made the shocking but calculated decision to quit her job, leave her apartment behind and move into a shelter in Chelsea. She and her daughter are now on MassHealth, the subsidized insurance program for low-income Mass. residents.

WBUR's Martha Bebinger, who spoke with DeJesus, joins Radio Boston, along with Robert Blendon, who authored the poll, to talk more about what the poll results say about the state of health insurance in Massachusetts.

Guests:

  • Martha Bebinger, WBUR reporter
  • Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel professor of public health and professor of health policy and political analysis, Harvard University

More:

This segment aired on June 12, 2012.

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