Re-evaluating Masschusett's health care reform

Gov. Mitt Romney signs Massachusetts' new health care reform bill in April 2006, which made Massachusetts the first state in the country to require that all residents have health insurance.

HOST: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's expected to talk about healthcare today at the University of Michigan. The Republican is well-known for passing healthcare reform which looks very much like President Obama's overhaul -- a plan that's loathed by Republicans.

Romney's expected to address the discrepancy today. As Marketplace's Janet Babin reports:


Janet Babin: Massachusetts requires residents to get health care from work. If not, they have to purchase state-subsidized insurance. Since the law passed, 98 percent of residents are covered.

But a new study by the Massachusetts Medical Society found patients waiting longer to see a doctor. Here's the society's president, Dr. Alice Coombs.

Coombs: For internal medicine and family practice, the wait time it takes you to see a doctor approaches six weeks. And that's concerning.

Concerning because patients that can't wait go to the emergency room, driving up cost. But the wait time is actually lower than it was last year. Rockefeller Institute fellow Richard Kirsch says problems with the law have been exaggerated.

Richard Kirsch: What the report left out is that the waiting times now are just as long as they were before the bill was passed.

Regardless of whether the bill's a success, Romney is expected to distance himself from the state law, and call for a repeal of Obamacare.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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