An analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation finds that the cost of this achievement has been relatively modest and well within early projections of how much the state would have to spend to implement reform.
Based on actual and projected spending data for the first four years of health care reform, the Foundation concludes that state budget spending on health reform has grown from a base of $1.041 billion in fiscal 2006 to a projected $1.748 billion in fiscal 2010. That is an increase of $707 million, half of which is supported by federal reimbursements. The $353 million state share translates into an average yearly increase of only $88 million.
How has Massachusetts been able to reduce the number of uninsured to less than three percent of its population while spending so few new public dollars? To a large degree, the answer can be found in the unique way the law's programs and incentives act in concert to expand access to subsidized coverage for low-income adults and children largely through a reallocation of funds from uncompensated care, while also encouraging enrollment in employer-sponsored and individual health insurance plans.
So … all this comes back to implementation. Yes, a good chunk of that money comes from the feds. Who negotiated that deal? The Patrick administration, at some considerable length, with a big assist from Ted Kennedy, natch. Who is jawboning insurers and providers into keeping costs down? The Patrick administration, with backup from AG Coakley. Who was doing cost control legislation? Terry Murray … and the Governor.
Lots of credit to go around.