Source Pravda.Ru

Massachusetts’ health care reform starts to bring first results

Massachusetts’ healthcare law may eventually create near-universal coverage, which is one of the key goals, reseachers said.

The rate for non-insured adults in Massachusetts has decreased by more than 50 percent. In addition, residents pay less in out-of-pocket health expenses, whereas adults living on low income are more likely to undergo regular check-ups and visits to the dentist since the law was put into effect in 2006.

Specialists from the Urban Unstitute conducted their reseach among 3,000 residents of Massachusetts in the autumn of 2006, shortly before the law came into effect. The second round of interviews was conducted a year later.

Researchers from the Urban Institute interviewed 3,000 Massachusetts residents in the fall of 2006, just before the law took effect, and conducted a second round of interviews a year later.

The report in the journal Health Affairs includes a series of major findings, according to Sharon Long, an economist and the report’s author, the AP reports.

Massachusetts health care reform law was enacted in 2006, and requires nearly every resident of Massachusetts to obtain or purchase health insurance coverage. Through the law, Massachusetts provides nearly free health care for residents earning less than the federal poverty line, and subsidized access to health care for those earning up to three times the poverty threshold. As of the end of 2007, the law is credited with covering an additional 300,000 Massachusetts residents. The law established a new quasi-public regulatory authority, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority which offers the subsidized coverage and facilitates the selection and purchase of private insurance plans by individuals and small businesses. Incentives for residents to obtain health insurance coverage include penalties for failing to obtain an insurance plan, of $219, for 2007, the amount of an individual's Massachusetts annual income tax personal tax exemption; in 2008, penalties increase by monthly increments, and can be up to half of the cost of an individual's health insurance plan.

The law reform was enacted as Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 of the Massachusetts Legislature, entitled: An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care. In October, 2006, January, 2007, and November 2007, bills were enacted that amended and made technical corrections to the statute (Chapters 324 and 450 of the Acts of 2006, and chapter 205 of the Acts of 2007).

Photo: saddlemt.com

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