“Romneycare” Worked in Massachusetts, Shows Study

    December 10, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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With the Healthcare.gov site now improving, the U.S. focus on the botched rollout of the website is now shifting to what the effects of the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as “Obamacare“) might be in the future. Supporters of the law (who are taking considerable criticism from conservative opponents of the law) might find solace today in a new study that shows the Massachusetts law that much of the Affordable Care Act was based on actually worked.

In 2006 Massachusetts passed a sweeping healthcare law. The law became known in subsequent years by the name “Romneycare,” as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed the law and was instrumental in its passing. The Romneycare label was part of the reason Romney shied away from strongly criticizing the Affordable Care Act during his 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign.

The new study, published in the journal The Milbank Quarterly, shows that in just five short years the health of Massachusetts citizens was significantly improved. This was especially true for poor and lower-class citizens who were able to gain health insurance as part of the legislation. In addition to health measurements, Massachusetts citizens were more likely to have a personal doctor and more likely to report that healthcare costs were not a barrier to treatment.

“Everyone has been looking over the past few years at Massachusetts, which was the first state to show the rest of the U.S. that near-universal coverage could be achieved,” says Philip Van der Wees, first author of the study and a former Harvard University healthcare researcher. “We found that people have gained in general, mental, and physical health, and that some preventive measures improved. We would hope that this would be a blueprint for the rest of the U.S., though Massachusetts is not the average state, because it began from a higher level of insurance,”

The study was able to determine the effects of the Massachusets healthcare law over the course of its implementation. Researchers found that insurance coverage improved within just one year of the law’s passage, and that cost barriers to medical treatment fell during that time. Within two years personal doctor visits were up. Four years later measurable improvements to the state’s health were seen.

The study’s authors believe that this paper, along with others, could be a sign of what is to come for the U.S. with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“In an era of demagoguery and exaggeration posing as ‘facts’ it is essential to collect and analyze solid evidence on our nation’s health care policies,” said Howard Markel, editor-in-chief of The Milbank Quarterly and the director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan. “Indeed, it is the only way I know to approach the Sisyphean task of reforming and improving health care access for all Americans. Publishing and disseminating articles like this one is a solid start in that direction.”

(Image courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

  • Fantasy?

    The Pentagon lost 2.3 Trillion dollars and the FED lost 9 Trillion dollars. People miss the whole point of this. Our tax dollars more than provide for everyone having healthcare coverage. 11.3 Trillion pays for a hell of a lot of healthcare premiums. Try 40,000 worth of premiums for every man, woman, and child in this nation. That is 20 years of coverage.

    Our government just pisses away our money or uses it to make select people wealthy. People like Romney.

    Also, there is a lot of profiteering in the system. Bottom line, people like Romney invest in companies that make money off the system. A one night stay in a hospital was billed to our insurance carrier for $100,000. That is ludicrous and doesn’t make sense. Until you deal with this overcharging, it doesn’t matter what system is put in place. The insurance companies will just pass the buck to the public.

    Romney thinks people are fools. He is ultra-rich and doesn’t give a damn about the people. He said as much in closed door sessions. I am not even a democrat. I couldn’t care what party he was from.

    America is very much like Feudal Europe. The royalty owned everything and got their wealth off the backs of the masses. The police where the enforces to make sure the masses didn’t rise up. Romney is very much like Antoinette … let them eat cake.

    America you better take back your country or we will be come a two class system in a police state. The wealthy simply have too much.