For Immediate Release - April 13, 2011

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK HIGHLIGHTS MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH CARE REFORM AT CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS

Five years after enactment, Massachusetts leads the nation with over 98% of residents covered

WASHINGTON, DC - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today headlined a forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, highlighting the success of health care reform in Massachusetts, five years after its enactment.

"Today, thanks to effective implementation of our 2006 reform legislation, we lead the nation in providing health care to our residents," said Governor Patrick. "More than 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have health care coverage, including 99.8 percent of our children."

"Now, just as we have provided the national model for universal access, I believe we can crack the code on cost control," said Governor Patrick.

The Governor was joined at the event by Paul Guzzi, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Andrew Bagley, Director of Research and Public Affairs for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

In 2006 a Republican Governor, a Democratic legislature, a Democratic United States Senator and a broad coalition of citizens worked together to develop and pass the landmark Massachusetts health care reform law. Thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration's implementation of the 2006 health care reform law, Massachusetts leads the nation in the percentage of residents with health insurance, and has served as the model for national health care reform.

While Massachusetts has shown national leadership in expanding access to health care, costs continue to be a challenge. Governor Patrick recently filed a bill to lower the cost of quality health care for consumers by giving the health care industry incentives and freedom to innovate and find lower cost ways to deliver better care.

The legislation encourages the growth of "integrated care organizations," (ICOs) comprised of groups of providers that work together to achieve improved health outcomes for patients at lower costs; provides benchmarks, standards and guidance for the transition to integrated care and global payments; and allows the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to consider more criteria when making the decision to either approve or reject rate increase requests from both carriers and providers.

The Facts About Massachusetts Health Care Reform:

  • More than 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have health care coverage, including 99.8 percent of children, while racial and ethnic disparities in health coverage have been significantly reduced.
  • Health care reform in Massachusetts has not been a budget buster. Universal coverage has added only about 1% more of our state budget in state spending.
  • The percent of private companies offering health insurance to their employees is up to 77% from 70% before the bill was passed. That compares to 69% nationwide.
  • In 2005, Massachusetts paid over $700 million for health care for the uninsured and underinsured. In Fiscal Year 2011, we spent about $400 million - nearly $300 million less.
  • As of June 2010, more than 400,000 people in Massachusetts had insurance than had previously been uninsured.
  • A new survey found that more than eight in ten members of Commonwealth Care - the state's subsidized health care plan for low income residents - say they're satisfied with their coverage. Four in five respondents said they had seen a doctor at least once since joining Commonwealth Care.
  • The Commonwealth Care program has achieved $80 million in cost savings for next year by encouraging competition and innovation among health plans.
  • Overall, Medicaid represents 32% of annual state spending today and has grown about 2% per capita since our reforms were enacted.

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