A Healthy Blog

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

The Last Word on Mass Health Reform and National Reform (not)

The Last Word on Mass Health Reform and National Reform (not)

March 26, 2009

The ongoing discussion of the relevance and lessons of Massachusetts health reform for national reform keeps on going. But maybe now there will be some clarity.

Yesterday a thoughtful voice entered the conversation and tried to set everyone straight. Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, settles the issues in Is Massachusetts a Model, a Mirage...or Moot?. As the leader of the attempt in California to pass comprehensive reform that met his state's needs, Anthony brings a perspective that understands the different contexts of different states:

The vibrant discussion on the Massachusetts reform by Jon Cohn, Diane Archer, and Jonathan Gruber is obscured because the debate is mixing up two different questions: Is the Massachusetts reform succeeding? And is Massachusetts a model for national reform?
....
Gruber and Cohn are right that the big lesson from Massachusetts is not any specific policy component, but that health reform and coverage expansions are possible; Archer is right in her policy recommendations of what is needed in a federal reform, including the public health coverage option. Some of that is based on the needs of the nation, which face a different set of challenges that what Massachusetts did. So let's not get distracted in refighting past battles in Massachusetts when there's a far more significant fight brewing over the future of federal reform.

Yes. Case closed. (you think?)
Brian Rosman