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5 Lessons from Massachusetts About the Obamacare Rollout

Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signs the state's health care reform bill into law in April, 2006. Sen. Ted Kennedy (2nd from right) and others look on. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signs the state’s health care reform bill into law in April, 2006. Sen. Ted Kennedy (2nd from right) and others look on. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Martha Bebinger, WBUR and Kaiser Health News

A lot of the Affordable Care Act supporters point to Massachusetts as proof that signing up the uninsured is a big, but doable task. Here, in 2013, that’s a reasonable conclusion.

But back in 2007 and 2008 things were a lot messier, and some advocates for universal coverage were worried.

Here’s why:

1) Underestimates of people eligible for subsidies: It looked like the state had, by a lot, underestimated the number of people who would be eligible for free and subsidized coverage. In 2006, the estimate was 140,000. By April 2008, the estimate rose to 225,000, based on early sign-ups. Enrollment plateaued at 177,000 in 2009. Continue reading

Lessons for the Obamacare Rollout, Courtesy of Massachusetts

Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signs the state's health care reform bill into law in April, 2006. Sen. Ted Kennedy (2nd from right) and others look on. ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signs the state’s health care reform bill into law in April 2006. Sen. Ted Kennedy (3rd from right) and others look on. ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Richard Knox, NPR

Today marks a milestone on the nation’s long march toward universal health coverage: the launch of online marketplaces, called exchanges, designed to help people find insurance they can afford.

It’s an idea pioneered by Massachusetts seven years ago. People here call their program a success, and say the state’s exchange was an indispensable factor.

Those involved since the beginning say the Massachusetts health insurance exchange, called the Connector, was the brainchild of former Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican.

Glen Shor, who once ran the Connector and is now the state’s secretary of administration and finance, is confident that the nation will follow Massachusetts’ lead.

“As the [federal] law begins to be implemented,” Shor said, “people will see and feel its positive effects. They’ll be able to see through some of the rhetoric and spin.” Continue reading