NJ Governor and Chair of the Republican Governors Association, Chris Christie, never did a study of traffic on the George Washington Bridge.
He apparently never studied health care in Massachusetts, either.
Yesterday, his RGA issued a statement, saying, “ObamaCare has turned into a disaster for Massachusetts.” That’s just wrong, in so many ways.
Yes, the website and eligibility system being built by the Health Connector and MassHealth are not working yet.
But overall, any fair assessment would conclude that the Affordable Care Act has been an enormous benefit for the people of Massachusetts.
- The ACA is good for our seniors, who are saving money on their prescription drugs.The ACA closes the “donut hole” that left seniors with no Medicare drug coverage as their drug costs increased. In 2013, this saved over 67,000 Massachusetts seniors who hit the donut hole an average of $823.
- The ACA is good for our young adults, who can stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26.The ACA improved on the Massachusetts law, which only allowed young adults to stay on their parent’s plan for two years.
- The ACA is good for our small businesses, which get tax credits to cover their employees. In Massachusetts, around 64,000 small businesses (roughly 2/3 of all of them) are eligible for federal tax credits to help them offer coverage to their workers.
- The ACA is good for moderate income people, who can now get help with their insurance premiums. The ACA provides premium-lowering tax credits to families making between $70,000 and $94,000 (for a family of 4) who previously did not get any help in Massachusetts.
- The ACA is good for people with disabilities, who can now enroll in One Care plans that provide more benefits and more care for people who receive both MassHealth and Medicare coverage.
- The ACA is good for all of our health because well over 780,000 people in our state have already received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. The ACA has also invested in electronic medical records for Massachusetts, and expanded capacity at Community Health Centers.
- The ACA is good for the overall economy, as it reduces the load on state taxpayers, and also lowers the federal deficit.
Even with the atrocious website problems, Massachusetts officials have used flexibility in the ACA to expand coverage. Some 300,000 people were placed into new, better, coverage automatically, bypassing the website.Tens of thousands more people have coverage today than before 2014. For example, over 35,000 formerly uninsured people got added to MassHealth in January, due to the ACA.
We all have lots more work to do, of course. But national health reform has been very good for Massachusetts.
Health Care For All
(updated to update average donut hole savings with new federal numbers that just came out)