John McDonough: Mass. Carved The Path, But More Needs To Be Done

One of a series of analyses on the 10th anniversary of the 2006 Massachusetts health care overhaul. John E. McDonough teaches at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2006, he was executive director of Health Care for All in Massachusetts. Between 2008 and 2010, he worked in the U.S. Senate on writing and passing the Affordable Care Act.   Continue reading

What Analysts Say About The Mass. Health Law That’s Turning 10

WBUR first started CommonHealth to track a law that had an ambitious goal: health coverage for virtually every Massachusetts resident. It’s been 10 years since that reform effort. To mark the anniversary, we asked a number of health experts to offer their takes on the law. A handful of the commentaries are excerpted below, and links to all the analyses are at the bottom of this post.

Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist (full post here): 

Growth in insurance coverage has been shown repeatedly to lead to improved health outcomes in Massachusetts.

John McDonough, former director, Health Care for All (full post):

Massachusetts carved the path. Still, the work of advancing affordable and quality coverage to all Americans is unfinished.

Nancy Turnbull, associate dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (full post):

You’ve made life better, healthier and more financially secure for hundreds of thousands of people. So celebrate your successes.

But get ready for the challenges ahead: Being a tween is a wild ride!

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On Mass. Health Law’s 10th Anniversary, Here Are 12 Things To Know

Then-Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands with other political leaders at Faneuil Hall in Boston after signing into law the state's landmark health reform bill on April 12, 2006. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Then-Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands with other political leaders at Faneuil Hall in Boston after signing into law the state’s landmark health reform bill on April 12, 2006. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Ten years ago today, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law a bill with an ambitious goal: health coverage for virtually every Massachusetts resident. To mark the 10th anniversary, we asked health experts of all stripes to assess the law’s first decade. Links to the commentaries are gathered here and at the bottom of this post. But first, 12 facts and figures:

1. The total number of Massachusetts residents with health insurance grew by somewhere between 441,251 and 590,195 from 2005 to 2015.

The lower estimate, from Nancy Turnbull at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is for residents under the age of 65. The higher estimate, from Sharon Long at the Urban Institute, includes all residents. The last official estimate from the state showed a gain of 439,000 between 2006 and 2011.

2. The percentage of state residents without insurance dropped from 9.6 percent in 2006 to 4.4 percent in 2014, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The only continuous state-based survey of the uninsured tracks the rate for 19- to 64-year-olds. It dropped from 14 percent in 2006 to 4.3 percent in 2015.

The uninsured rate varies a lot by age (see page 7), including: 0.8 percent for residents 65 and older, 1.6 percent for children and 7.2 percent for 19- to 25-year-olds.

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