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Massachusetts Health Reform: Bragging Rights and Growing Pains

Monday, May 19, 2008

Many have proclaimed the Massachusetts health care reform plan a success, noting the greater than expected enrollment rates in the program’s first 18 months. But some observers sound notes of concern.

One consequence of the high enrollment, primarily among those who qualify for subsidies, is that the program is projected to cost $153 million more than budgeted, even before taking into account continued growth in enrollment expected over the next several months. There are also reports of shortages of primary care providers, as the newly insured line up for medical visits. More than 340,000 formerly uninsured citizens of MA – more than half of the estimated 600,000 who were uninsured in 2006 – now have coverage.

Policy makers considering health reform, including states and Congress, are looking to Massachusetts as a laboratory to inform their proposals. How is implementation of universal coverage progressing in Massachusetts? How is the Connector model working? Does affordability remain an issue for implementation of the individual mandate? How is the employer community responding to the reforms? Are quality and access being addressed along with coverage? What steps are being taken to meet the challenges?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a May 19 briefing. Panelists were: Jon Kingsdale, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority; John McDonough, Health Care for All; Matthew Fishman, Partners HealthCare; and Grace-Marie Turner; Galen Institute. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation co-moderated.


 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 Diane Rowland, Kaiser Family Foundation, Moderator
 Matt Fishman, Partners HealthCare, Speaker
 Jon Kingsdale, Commonwealth Connector Authority, Speaker
 John E. McDonough, Health Care for All, Speaker
 Grace Marie-Turner, Galen Institute, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Massachusetts Health Reform: Bragging Rights and Growing Pains (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 5/19/2008
Full Webcast/Podcast: Massachusetts Health Reform: Bragging Rights and Growing Pains

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

John McDonough Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/19/2008
Jon Kingsdale Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/19/2008
Matt Fishman Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/19/2008
Grace-Marie Turner Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/19/2008

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Massachusetts Health Care Reform is Pioneer Effort, But Complications Remain (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Annals of Internal Medicine, 3/18/2008
Single-Payer Utopia? (Response to Marcia Angell) (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Galen Institute, 4/25/2008
The Mass.-ter Plan (Adobe Acrobat PDF), National Journal, 6/10/2006
How Healthy is this Alliance? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Boston Globe, 3/24/2008
List of Experts (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 5/15/2008
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), Alliance for Health Reform, 5/15/2008
Massachusetts Health Reform: Bragging Rights and Growing Pains (Word Document), Word Document, 5/19/2008
Sourcelist (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 5/19/2008

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Health Care in Massachusetts: Key Indicators (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, 1/1/2008
States in Action: A BimonthlyLook at Innovations in Health Policy, The Commonwealth Fund, 5/1/2008
Annual Report: MA Health Care Quality and Cost Council (Executive Summary), Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council, 4/1/2008
In Massachusetts, Universal Coverage Strains Care, New York Times, 4/5/2008
5 Lessons Learned from Massachusetts State Health Reform, ACHP, 5/1/2008
Health Care for All: A Healthy Voice (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Care for All Massachusetts, 1/1/2008
Massachusetts Health Care Praised, But Struggles with Cost, PBS NewsHour, 4/28/2008
Revisiting Massachusetts Health Reform: 18 Months Later (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Community Catalyst, 12/1/2007
Massachusetts Health Reform Tracking Survey (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 7/1/2007


Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector in Massachusetts, presents a progress report on health reform in his state. (14 min.) From the May 19 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Matt Fishman, vice president for community health at Partners HealthCare in Boston, describes challenges to be solved as health reform evolves in Massachusetts and assets helpful to solutions. (12 min.) From the May 19 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

John McDonough, executive director of Health Care for All in Boston, discusses details of health reform in Massachusetts and how it came about. (14 min.) From the May 19 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, offers cautions about health reform implementation in Massachusetts. (15 min.) From the May 19 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


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