Massachusetts health plan check up

A physician assistant of family medicine wears a stethoscope.

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: Just how smart is Massachusetts for requiring health care for all? It's been two weeks since health coverage kicked in for people whoa€™ve had to buy it for themselves and already the state's patting itself on the back. From the Health Desk at WGBH in Boston, Helen Palmer looks at whether this means the experiment to insure everyone is a success.


Helen Palmer: The Health Connector Board which worked out just how to get all of Massachusetts insured is thrilled.

It says 155,000 more people have coverage now than last year, and 92,000 of those actually bought their own insurance.

Stuart Altman: So I think, yes, they should be excited and feel good about it. This is a program that's doing a lot of good things.

Brandeis University Health policy professor Stuart Altman. But he warns we don't know exactly who's signing up — people who need a lot of expensive care or healthy folk who won't cost a lot.

And we don't know exactly how big a bite this is of the state's uninsured. State figures showed 370,000 without coverage. A federal survey says there were over half a million.

John Kingsdale, head of the Connector Board, is upbeat whatever.

John Kingsdale: Frankly, we're not exactly sure whether we're starting with 370,000 or 530,000 as the base. Whatever it is, I would expect to see continued, significant progress.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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