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

The ACA is Good For Massachusetts (Budget Impact Edition)

The ACA is Good For Massachusetts (Budget Impact Edition)

June 16, 2015

We've done a bunch of posts on the topic of the ACA is good for Massachusetts. The ACA does much more than just switch RomneyCare to ObamaCare. Under the ACA, we've been able to provide premium assistance for more people, allow children to remain on their parents' health coverage longer, eliminate limits on benefits, provide free preventive care, including contraception, in insurance plans, and improve drug coverage for seniors on Medicare. The ACA has improved care quality, funded community health centers, workforce development, community prevention and 52 patient-centered research projects (out of 400 nationally).

And dramatically improved the state budget.

Mass Budget report

The numbers are in a brief released today by the Mass Budget and Policy Center, blandly titled "New Federal Revenue Affects State Spending Trends" (pdf), but providing blockbuster information.

In 2015, spending on health care grew, both due to medical inflation and expanded coverage. The increased cost was around $1.17 billion. But the ACA provided much more new revenue to Massachusetts, some $1.02 billion, covering almost all of the new spending.

We actually saved money on MassHealth coverage: "[Due to the ACA], the state is seeing a net bottom line savings of $245 million as a result ($338 million in new federal revenue minus $93 million in new net costs associated with MassHealth coverage.)"

The study correctly identifies health spending growth as the most critical ongoing budget problem. The boost in federal funds doesn't affect long-term growth trends. We must continue to take steps to reduce health care cost growth.

But the ACA's increased federal revenue is good news for the state budget, and for everyone who cares about providing affordable health care to everyone who needs help.

   - Brian Rosman