Earlier this week, of course, State Senator Scott Brown pulled off a historic upset in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, with the health care issue playing a central role in the campaign.
But there’s more. In 2006, Massachusetts passed a health care measure that has served as one of the examples upon which the health care measures being pushed in Congress are based.
The Cato Institute has just published a new report by Aaron Yelowitz and Michael F. Cannon titled “The Massachusetts Plan: Much Pain, Little Gain.”
The authors conclude:
Our analysis of CPS data for 2008 shows that Massachusetts’ health law has had a smaller impact on insurance coverage levels and a much higher cost than supporters claim. Gains in coverage have been overstated by nearly 50 percent, while costs have been understated by at least one-third, and likely more. The law has done little to improve overall self-reported health, though it does appear to have crowded out private health insurance and made Massachusetts a less attractive place to relocate, particularly for young people.
These findings hold lessons for the legis- lation moving through Congress, which largely resembles the Massachusetts law. As in Massachusetts, there has been no effort to estimate the full cost of the legislation—that is, including the mandates it would impose on individuals and employers. The costs of that legislation are therefore far greater than members of Congress and voters believe, while the benefits may be smaller than the conventional wisdom about Massachusetts suggests.
Raymond J. Keating
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council