How Much Do We Really Know About the Massachusetts Health Plan?

Massachusetts has health care and so the rest of the country would like to have that too. So we don’t (think) a state that already has health care should determine whether the rest of the country should.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Note to Speaker Pelosi: People in the rest of the country do have health care.

People in the rest of the country see real doctors, get real medications, and go to real state-of-the art hospitals even in California, the state that your district is in. What people don’t want, both inside and outside of Massachusetts, is the kind of health care that the Massachusetts-style reforms produce.

In general, the ObamaCare reforms passed by the House mimic the Massachusetts model. As its opponents predicted, the Massachusetts reforms have created long waits for care, the highest health insurance premiums in the country, and out-of-control state spending.

People in Massachusetts have been fined because they have failed to buy government specified health insurance policies whether they need them or not. Even people with good corporate policies may run afoul of the law because their policies aren’t “generous enough.”

Insurance policy design has been politicized, and the insiders in control of the definition of acceptable health insurance have seen fit to outlaw plans that are the biggest sellers in the rest of the country. Worse, the government replacement plans are good only in Massachusetts.

For more on the malign effects of Massachusetts-style reforms see Aaron Yelowitz and Michael F. Cannon of the Cato Institute in The Massachusetts Health Plan: Much Pain, Little Gain which is summarized on this blog. Greg Scandlen reports on the size of Massachusetts premiums. Another post explains how people game the bureaucratic Massachusetts system. A fuller explanation was provided by the Council for Affordable Health Insurance. Other posts at this blog cover the wait for care under Massachusetts health care reform, the effect it is having on emergency room visits (they are up), and what is known of its ultimate effects on patients.

For an overview of the original intent of the Massachusetts reform, its working parts, and its results to date see Massachusetts Miracle or Massachusetts Miserable by Michael Tanner. Destroying Insurance Markets by the late Conrad Meier provides a splendid round-up of how required coverage for pre-existing conditions and one price community rating destroyed the insurance markets that the Massachusetts reform was designed to replace.

Comments (13)

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  1. rwhsr56 says:

    here we go once again the democrats telling us what we need..all they want is mass healthcare is the same as controlling…they say and you are suppose to obey..stop with all this controlling..they people in mass was charged with fines if they didn’t have insurance of any sort..that is not helping the american people..if they want to do something is cut back on medicare prem and all their copays for the people who is on medicare like i am..everything has increased and costing me alot more and less to live on. even tho medicare prem are none for this year but everything else has gone up and obama isn’t helping the american people..HE AND THOSE DEMOCRTS WANTS CONTROL..

  2. Tom H. says:

    Nice summary. The more I learn about the Mass Health Plan, the less I like it.

  3. Vicki says:

    Pelosi is clueless, as usual.

  4. Ken says:

    Remember, Scott Brown voted for this plan. Sorry to rain on today’s parade.

  5. Stephen C. says:

    The mainstream media has done a poor job of covering all the warts and blemishes in the Massachusetts Health Plan.

  6. artk says:

    The Massachusetts Health Plan has solved the access problem, some 98% of the state is now covered. There are cost problems, but the entier system has cost problems. Ask any small business owner about the annual increases in his group plan rates.

  7. Linda Gorman says:

    To artk:

    Did you really mean to equate coverage with access?

    You should also note Cannon and Yelowitz, in the paper cited above, find that gains in coverage have been overstated by nearly 50 percent while costs have been understated by at least one-third. It has also apparently made Massachusetts a less likely place to move to, at least for the young.

  8. John Goodman says:

    This is from Sue Blevins:

    Rasmussen Reports found in November 2009: “In 2006, Massachusetts implemented its own statewide version of health care reform and 32% of the state’s voters consider that reform a success. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Bay State finds that 36% consider the plan a failure and another 32% are not sure. Read more: (source: “In Massachusetts, 32% Consider State’s Health Care Reform a Success,” Rasmussen Reports, November 27, 2009).

  9. Bart says:

    By Pelosi’s reasoning, Congress already has health care and so should not be allowed to determine what the rest of the country gets.

  10. get real, spinsters! says:

    what was the real issue is that MASS has near UNIVERSAL healthcare, courtesy of their representatives, including the late great Ted Kennedy! the rest of the US does not have near-UNIVERSAL healthcare! duh! so i agree with Pelosi and the others whose comments are being spun by not including the entire concept they are communicating about MASS! That is why MASS did not want anything changed, esp by the basterdized/watered-down-compromised bogus bill in the Senate, now; after all the effort to reach a compromise and please the right and those whose best interests have been a roadblock in true change and progress! I hope the new MASS Senator helps make the US healthcare near-UNIVERSAL for the rest of us, so MASS does not feel threatened by the other 49 states of this great changing country! THE KEY POINT IS: MASS already has a practically complete UNIVERSAL health care regulation in place! SHAME on those dirty commie, socialist in the NE! HOW DARE THEY?

    plus, in mass, the democrat was a given for months prior to the election, but apparently is not a very qualified candidate, and was a probable poor choice as Ted’s replacement! i can see why they chose the other candidate! btw, i think there is polling that justifies that the majority of MASS endorses a public option, just not the version in the Senate at this point of butchering!

  11. marlene swift says:



  12. cathy says:

    You can go to the health care debate blogs and let them know what is happening in your state.I had a blog link from unhappy folks in MASS and all their comment disappeared.Go to the link and send all your friends to comment.Ther are sevseral thread in different states.Copy and paste in your browser

  13. Alexander says:

    I agree with Cobra, if you are able to afford it, get Kiaser if it’s avllbaaie where you live. As an HMO, it covers everything. I grew up with it and had to change back to kiaser from another HMO and the coverage and efficiency is MUCH better. It took me less than 24 hours to see a specialist this week. My nephew who is in medical school says that the competition to get a job with kiaser among new grads is intense. When I was growing up, it was not so great. Now all the insurers are not so great. If you can’t afford kiaser, or it isn’t avllbaaie where you are, then go to a broker and compare your options.