Governor Deval L. Patrick
Health Care Reform Anniversary
Faneuil Hall
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thank you all for coming.  We have had a robust conversation about our successes to date in health care reform and how to sustain that success going forward.

You see the people here today. We come from business and government, from community groups and non-profits, from hospitals, community health centers, insurance companies, unions and advocacy groups.  There is a great diversity of opinion in this room on almost everything.

But we are joined today – just as we were in 2006 and have remained since – because we all believe that health is a public good and that everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care.  Thanks to the law signed in this building in 2006, we are closer to that ideal in Massachusetts than anywhere else in America.  That is a good thing and we are proud of it.

By any measure, health care reform has been a success in Massachusetts. We have virtually universal coverage.  Businesses have embraced the law.  Preventative care is up, emergency room visits are down and people are healthier.  And all of this with a 1 percent impact on the state budget and a nation-leading drop in the growth of premiums.

Most important of all, I’ve met the people whose lives have been saved or improved because of the access to care our reforms made possible.  If policy matters most where it touches people, this policy matters a whole lot.  Health care reform is working in Massachusetts.

This is about making a real difference in people’s lives.  This is about confronting a challenging problem and finding a real solution.

There is more work to do, no doubt.  The cost of health care is a national challenge – and while we’ve made much progress there, we must do more.  We must also be open to new technologies and payment methods to continually improve the quality of care.  We are tackling these challenges next, with help from the tools of the Affordable Care Act and the people in this room.  But today is about celebrating a great success.  I am proud to be here and I’d like to introduce someone who was instrumental in making this happen, my friend, Jack Connors.