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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

FactCheck Fact Checks Romneycare

FactCheck Fact Checks Romneycare

March 28, 2011

As former Governor's Romney's presidential campaign heats up, Massachusetts health reform will again become a beanbag for politicians to kick around to score points. Mike Huckabee's trashing in his book ("we should take a lesson from RomneyCare, which shows that socialized medicine does not work") is one of many examples we will surely see in the coming months. That's why we're so happy that FactCheck.org, a non-partisan, independent truth-seeker, put so much energy into setting out the facts on Massachusetts health reform, in ‘RomneyCare’ Facts and Falsehoods. FactCheck's managing editor spent some time in Massachusetts earlier this month, interviewing all the right people, including Connector staff, Connector Board Member Jonathan Gruber, Mike Widmer from Mass Taxpayers Foundations, former Romney HHS head Tim Murphy, Mike Doonan from Brandeis' Mass Health Policy Forum, and HCFA. The article sets the record straight, detailing the evidence of how 5 years after chapter 58 was enacted, the law has reduced the number of uninsured, not bankrupted the Commonwealth, not shown to affect waiting times, and maintained public support. The article explains the challenges experienced around serving small businesses, and focuses on the lack of direct connection between most of the premium increases in Massachusetts and the coverage expansion. The article is blunt in refuting some of the worst calumnies:

Huckabee was dead wrong when he said that the law "ended up having almost the polar opposite effect of what was intended." A major goal — if not the goal — was to reduce the number of uninsured. The state was very successful in that regard. We called and e-mailed the press office for Huckabee’s political action committee several times, asking for back-up for his claims. A spokesman told us he would get back to us, but we have not yet received a response.

We'll be interested in reading the response, too. In the meantime, we will continue to work on the ongoing implementation of our health reform law. -Brian Rosman