Scott Garrett versus The Affordable Care Act

Cross posted at

I know it’s not a hot topic right now, but when I come across important information I try to write it down immediately for use at some future time.  Usually I save it on a file in my computer and by the time I find it again I can’t remember the context or even why I saved the information in the first place.

That was the old me.  The new me will post the information here on Retire Garrett under the proper category with plenty of tags for future recall.  Such is the case with this next bit of information.

I was watching Ezra Klein filling in for Rachel Maddow the other night and he showed some graphs and charts and talked about a recently completed report that analyzed the success of the health care reform legislation enacted under then Governor Romney in Massachusetts.  Remember, The Affordable Care Act was modeled after the Massachusetts law.  Since the Affordable Care Act has not been fully implemented it’s impossible to know if the legislation is as cost-effective, covers as many people and improves care as projected.

The Massachusetts health care reform bill is a defacto pilot program for the Affordable Care Act.  So while the findings of the study may not be an exact match, these are certainly the best indication available as to the success or failure of the Democrats signature piece of legislation in the President’s first term.

In research just released by the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, in the four years before health care reform was enacted in Massachusetts (2002 – 2006), employer sponsored health care premiums rose 6% faster than the national average.  From 2006 – 2010 (after the legislation was implemented) premiums increased 3% slower than the national average.  That’s a swing of 9%.

The reform enacted in Massachusetts set out to deal with two problems.  First, cover uninsured citizens.  Second, to fix the run-away costs associated with the non-group or individual insurance market.   The results on both these issues have been better than the authors of the reform bill could have hoped.  Today, two-thirds of the previously uninsured people in Massachusetts are covered.  The uninsured population is down to around 2% which is similar to the uninsured levels of European nations.   To the second concern, after enactment of the legislation, there has been a 50% reduction in premiums relative to national trends.

While that information is tremendous, it will not mean a thing if the quality of care and health of the people of the Bay State declines.  Well, a  new study on self-reported health in Massachusetts was recently released as well.   Respondents reported overall improvements in their health, including physical health, mental health, functional limitations, joint disorders, body mass index, and moderate physical activity.

When Scott Garrett hits the campaign trail this year, don’t give him a pass on his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Don’t let him get away with talking about death panels, or government mandates.  The concept of a government mandate for health care reform was first put forward by a Republican, Bob Dole.  It became the Republican model for health care reform right up until the moment President Obama accepted the idea as something worthy of examination.  Only then did it become the third-rail of Republican politics. Don’t let Scott Garrett try to deceive people about a decrease in the quality of care, or an increase in the rate of growth of our premiums.  According to the best information available, the “pilot program” implemented by the likely Republican nominee is covering more people, costing less and providing better care than ever before.

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