National Health Reform Is Good For Massachusetts: Senator Kerry Puts It All Together
A bit over two years ago, we linked to a blog post by Senator Kerry, listing the numerous benefits from the national health reform law, then pending in the House.
Now, on the second anniversary of the law's enactment, Senator Kerry is back with HuffPo post on how health reform is helping Massachusetts, and the role our 2006 reform played in getting there:
None of this national change would have been possible if Massachusetts hadn't paved the way and provided the model for reform. We took a moral imperative and showed the nation it was achievable. Now, as we approach the sixth anniversary of reform in Massachusetts, our coverage rates are the best in the country -- 98 percent of people have health insurance, including 99.8 percent of kids. We've made coverage affordable to low-income folks, maximized enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), ensured that individuals and employers pay their fair share, and created a health insurance exchange so consumers can comparison shop for health insurance. Contrary to ideological bluster, which forecasted that reform would erode private health insurance, employer-based coverage has grown in Massachusetts even as it has declined in most states. In Massachusetts, 76 percent of employers now offer coverage; the national average is just 60 percent.
What we accomplished nationally is also good for Massachusetts. It's bringing us substantial federal assistance over the next decade to sustain and strengthen MassHealth programs. We're already seeing the results. Massachusetts has already received nearly $190 million in federal funding to build our health care workforce, crack down on fraud and support public health -- including $73 million in grants to our community health centers. Thanks to the new health care law, over 20,000 young adults in Massachusetts gained insurance coverage because they were allowed to stay on their parent's plan until they turned 26. Nearly 71,000 seniors in the Bay State received help with their prescription drug costs because we closed Medicare's unfair prescription drug donut hole. Because of the law's emphasis on prevention, over 780,000 Medicare beneficiaries in our state received free preventive services -- such as mammograms and colonoscopies -- or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And in 2011, 1.3 million Massachusetts residents with private health insurance gained access to preventive services without any out-of-pocket cost.
Two years later, I look back on that vote and I know we did the right thing -- and the proof is in the peoples' lives that are better now and millions more that will be better for it in the years to come. ... Ultimately, it's hard to argue with reality. If you want to see that health reform can work, come to Massachusetts. And if you want to see it work in America, just wait, because the best is still to come.