Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care reform, Romneycare, is six years old today and the Obama campaign has marked the occasion with a very special Happy Birthday video:
Perhaps the most salient part of the video is the remarks of Madelyn Rhemish, the first enrollee in the Massachusetts plan, who says:
I was lucky enough to be the first person enrolled in the core health plan under Romneycare, and was invited to the initiating ceremony with Governor Romney. Massachusetts health reform has allowed me to get my life back. I lost it, and now I I'm getting it back again. When I hear Governor Romney talking about repealing Obamacare, I just think he's jumping to a political position where the issue isn't health care, it's getting elected. And I think, "don't you remember me? Don't you remember my story and all the other stories you heard? How can you attack this when you've heard all that? Don't we matter? Don't we matter?"It is interesting to see Romney attacking his own plan, his plan which has actually done some good for his state, as well as for the individuals like Ms. Rhemish.
From 2006 to 2010, employer-sponsored health-care premiums for a family rose about 19% in Massachusetts, while they rose about 22% in the US as a whole. Compare that to the period between 2002 and 2006, when Bay State family premiums increased 40% and US family premiums rose only 34.5%. [...] For both family and individual premiums, the rate of growth fell below the national average in the period between 2008 and 2010.But there's more:
1. There has been a dramatic expansion of health insurance, reducing the uninsurance rate by 60-70%.So Romneycare is working, for individuals and for the state. But don't expect Mitt Romney to be celebrating that on the campaign trail today. Facts have a liberal bias, even when they should work for a Republican candidate. These days, when you're a Republican, good policy is bad politics.
2. No change in wait times for general and internal medicine practitioners have been observed.
3. The share of the population with a usual source of care, receiving preventative care, and receiving dental care all rose.
4. The rate of utilization of emergency care fell modestly.
5. There has been a 40% decline in uncompensated care.
6. The proportion of the population with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 0.6%.
7. The rate of employer offers of coverage grew from 70% to 76%.
8. Mandate compliance has been very high: 98% compliance in reporting via tax filings of obtaining coverage or paying penalties.
9. The administrative costs of health reform have been low. Overall implementation costs have been close to expectations.
10. Premiums have fallen dramatically in the non-group market.
11. Though group premiums have risen, they have not increased faster than one would expect from increases in other states in the region.