Liz Kowalczk wrote today about the new Health Affairs article on Massachusetts health reform, based on a telephone survey of about 3,000 nonelderly Massachusetts adults in late 2010. Check out the chartpack on the survey released yesterday by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
On a host on indicators, Massachusetts shows substantial progress on measure after measure between 2006 and 2010 -- I saw only two measures showing a slight reversal, and neither statistically significant. Remember, in 2010 we were in the depths of the economic downturn with unemployment stuck near ten percent. About nine million Americans lost health insurance in the downturn -- and almost none of them lived in Massachusetts.
Here are some salient details about Massachusetts adults:
- In 2010, 6% of nonelderly adults reported spending 10% or more of family income on out-of-pocket health care costs, significantly lower than in 2006.
- The share of nonelderly adults with a usual source of care increased between 2006 and 2010. For most, that source of care was a physician or a private clinic. (Remember all those stories in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere on how nobody in MA could get a doctor because of our reform law?)
- In 2010, for the first time since implementation of MA health reform, there were significant reductions in emergency department (ED) use among nonelderly adults.
- Between 2006 and 2010 there were reductions in unmet need for care for nonelderly adults, including reductions in unmet need for doctor care; medical tests, treatment, or follow-up care; and preventive care screening. (Are you going to write about this, Wall Street Journal?)
- The share of nonelderly adults who were spending 10% or more of family income on out-of-pocket (OOP) health care costs was lower in 2010 than 2006.
- The share of nonelderly adults who reported unmet need for care because of costs was lower in 2010 than 2006 overall and for most of the types of care, including doctor care; specialist care; medical tests, treatment, or follow-up care; and preventive care screenings.
Here's the best one, in my opinion:
- In 2010, 9% of nonelderly Massachusetts adults who were insured for the full year were underinsured. This is substantially lower than the national underinsurance estimate of 19% in 2010.
This is what's in store for vulnerable Americans if the Affordable Care Act gets fully implemented. More coverage, more care, better care.
It is far from perfect. Too many Massachusetts adults still are living with medical debt; costs are still too high for too many. In comparison with other advanced nations, we are backwards. In comparison with the rest of the United States, Massachusetts is a beacon of a better future.
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