A Healthy Blog

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

RomneyCare -- The Bill

RomneyCare -- The Bill

July 20, 2005

This morning, Governor Romney announced the filing of his health reform plan with the Legislature. You can obtain the full legislative text from HCFA's website by clicking here. In many ways, the legislation is less revealing than the Governor's less-than-revealing Powerpoint. For example, the powerpoint shows hypothetical premiums that would be paid by lower income folks to be insured -- the legislation simply directs the new Insurance Exchange board to develop premium levels.

Bottom line? We still have our share of concerns -- the real affordability of these hypothetical products, the content of the insurance policies, the security of the safety net, the treatment of noncitizens, the appropriateness of the Commonwealth acting as collection agent for hospitals, and the fiscal soundness of the plan.

Still, this is a serious effort at devising a new way of conceptualizing health care reform and deserves study and attention. The Administration -- which admonishes the health industry to be more "transparent" -- needs more transparency itself in sharing its data, assumptions, models, and other essential components. If they do that, the health care community has an obligation to give this plan a most serious and detailed examination.

Ten years ago., Charlie Baker and Bruce Bullen (for Gov. Bill Weld) produced a health reform blueprint that had some real weaknesses. Yet the underlying framework was revolutionary and pathbreaking; the Legislature fixed the weaknesses and produced an historic health reform plan. Maybe this is the same, and maybe it isn't -- we have an obligation to find out.

So no snap judgments -- let's take a good look under the hood.