Home > Employee Benefits > Health of Massachusetts residents improves after Romneycare

Health of Massachusetts residents improves after Romneycare

masshealthcareMassachusetts passed its own version of health care reform in 2006, known as Romneycare, which required every individual to obtain health insurance and to expand subsidized insurance options for certain chronically uninsured segments of the population. Since then, approximately 400,000 residents gained coverage due to those regulation changes. The percentage of Massachusetts residents now covered by health insurance is somewhere around 98%.

A recent study (reported in Milbank findings) showed how Romneycare impacted the health status of the residents of Massachusetts. Through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 345,211 adults ages 18 to 64 throughout New England were surveyed from the years 2001 through 2011. The surveys also captured the use of preventive services within this population. The study’s authors concluded that after the 2006 reform efforts, Massachusetts residents achieved better overall health as compared to other New England states, by the following margins:

  • General health: +1.7%
  • Physical Health: +1.3%
  • Mental Health: +1.5%

Further, Massachusetts residents had higher rates of obtaining age appropriate screenings by the following margins:

  • Pap Screening: +2.3%
  • Colonoscopy: 5.5%
  • Cholesterol Testing: 1.4%

Deeper analysis discovered that gains in health status were greatest when examining those individuals who earned up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

According to John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP, author of the study, “Our results demonstrate the potential benefits of health care reform in Massachusetts that may also be achieved through the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.”

Echoing these sentiments, co-author Howard Markel, MD, PhD, editor of The Milbank Quarterly stated, “In an era of demagoguery and exaggeration posing as ‘facts,’ it is essential to collect and analyze solid evidence on our nation’s health care policies…indeed, it is the only way I know to approach the Sisyphean task of reforming and improving health care access for all Americans.”


About the Author

Kathleen McSherry is a Senior Vice President at William Gallagher Associates in the Employee Benefit Group with a core focus on compliance and communications. Her responsibilities include educating clients on applicable local, state and federal regulations affecting their insurance programs and employees. She also acts as a liaison between WGA’s ERISA attorney and the entire benefits department, and a member of WGA’s Health Reform Advisory Team.

617.646.0359 | kmcsherry@wgains.com | Connect with Kathleen on LinkedIn

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