Commenwealth Care...

(For what it's worth, I'm a moderate in that sort of skeptical and cynical liberal sort of way)

One of the family friends asked me what I thought of the Massachusetts Mandatory Health Insurance bill the other day. I went on about how it's somewhat of a good thing because it ensures that patients are covered by SOME sort of insurance plan that reimburses at a rate somewhat higher than medicare/medicaid, it ensures that patients are taking SOME responsibility for their health care instead of just "showing up to the Emergency Room" when they need care (like W suggests), and it forced insurance providers to offer affordable coverage in Massachusetts.

Granted the downsides are that there aren't enough PCP's to cover the 130,000 new enrollees, and the $35/month premium for people with incomes 1.5-2x the federal poverty limit isn't going to put a dent in the cost associated with their increased consumption of health care. With that lack of funding will probably come a medicare-like reduction in the reimbursement schedule and a burden on the state coffers and ultimately increased taxes, resulting in physicians fleeing the state.

But at least it's something: Preventative care (for what it's worth) will be delivered, theoretically driving down overall costs of acute care later on, and perhaps the increased health care demand will drive the legislature to make Massachusetts a more attractive place to practice medicine with loan-repayment incentives and momentarily increased rates of reimbursement (even if we are paying out the ass for the programs with our tax dollars). It's an experiment in trying to sustain a viable health care delivery system that's not 100% government funded and places the responsibility upon employers and patients.

Only time will tell if it will work...

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