Some observations about yesterday’s New York Times article about rising costs under the Romney health-care plan: The plan has been a dramatic success in expanding health-insurance coverage. More than 440,000 people are newly insured in Massachusetts, with over 42 percent in private plans. Their coverage is also more affordable. Before the reform, a healthy 37-year-old living in Boston — the median age for uninsured adults in Massachusetts — paid $335 a month in premiums and had few market options. Post-reform, that 37-year-old had a broad range of options, including at least one plan for a little over half that price with twice the benefits.
The Times’s story also addresses two separate issues, somewhat confusingly: the rising costs of health care generally, and the costs of the health plan to the state of Massachusetts. On the latter issue, Governor Romney did propose the elimination of more costly coverage mandates, and his veto of the employer assessment was overridden by the legislature. Last July, Romney has also made the case for stronger cost-controls in this column. The Times did acknowledge that there have been savings from the 38 percent reduction in the free care pool, but further cost reductions need to be taken as Romney pointed out in his column.
Costs have risen because Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has made the program more generous by adding benefits, including costly expansions in coverage for low and moderate income families.