Getting educated from the Commonwealth…

So I have a love/hate relationship with Massachusetts.

I am a Bronxite who roots for the Yankees, and I’m beside myself that the Red Sox are up 3-0 in the World Series. (Go Rockies!) But I have fond memories goingt to college at Amherst, and loved the formal close of our Commencement, with the banging of a large staff and the pronouncement: “God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

On health policy, I was happy that Massachusetts helped focus attention on state reforms for expanding coverage, although I remind folks that California was one percentage point away a few years earlier, in 2003, with SB2 and Prop 72.

On the actual reform plan, it’s not our place to support or oppose the MA plan, but we have produced both discussion papers and fact sheets that discuss the various provisions, and to make clear the major differences between our two states.

Even so, there is lots to learn from the discussion going on in Massachusetts. Our colleagues from Health Care for All Massachusetts (not affiliated with our board member Health Care for All California) have been liveblogging the deliberations of their “Connector” board, which makes for interesting, although wonky, reading. As expected, there’s things that are working, and things that aren’t.

It’s odd that the Governor’s health proposal seems oblivious to these discussions, especially with regard to the individual mandate (whatever you think of the concept). No condition or exemption based on affordability and availability? No simplification/standardization of the individual market that we are requiring people to go into? Exempting employer-based coverage from what constitutes “minimum coverage” for the mandate?

The Governor’s proposal would benefit from a closer look at the consumer protections in the Massachusetts market (Health Access prepared a chart), and learning from their deliberations of what is working and what isn’t…

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