A Healthy Blog

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

Paying for Health Reform -- Yes It's a Real Issue

Paying for Health Reform -- Yes It's a Real Issue

April 13, 2006

Today's Globe throws some cold water on yesterday's health reform bill signing by correctly noting that the new law faces long and even medium term funding pressures. It's true, and for details see the Healthy Blog posting for April 9th where we show the actual cost projections over the first three years. Year three -- fiscal 2009 -- shows a deficit of $167 million; this is balanced by surpluses in the first two years, providing a balanced spending plan for the first three years. Beyond that, significant issues.

Worth keeping in mind, any expansion program of this magnitude faces funding questions and challenges moving forward. The plan itself, as Mike Widmer from the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation notes in the Globe article, will undergo significant variation in its funding scheme over the first three years.

Many things will change along the way, positive and negative. There will be pleasant and unpleasant surprises as this moves into implementation. And those who will face these pressures the most -- the legislative leaders smiling at yesterday's signing, oh, and the next governor sworn in early January 2007. Seems so close, can you taste it?