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Bay State model for national health care works page 3
Massachusetts' Affordable Care Act: A Successful Model for National Health Care, by Bernard Mahoney.

 Mitt Romney (right) stands with Ted Kennedy (center) and Timothy Murphy after signing into law 'Romneycare.'
Elise Amendola/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 10/14/2012

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Provisions will be enacted to block health care fraud and abuse in Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers.

Analysis of ACA expenditures by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that ACA will reduce the federal deficit by about $140 billion over 10 years.

A GOOD MIX

Massachusetts, with 98 percent participation, insures a good mix of young and old adults, which will maximize the enrollment and provide the necessary funds to help sustain the program.

Furthermore, the 98 percent participation in the Massachusetts model is clear evidence of its popularity. My conviction that it is a success was confirmed after talking with several Massachusetts friends and relatives, and consulting local news sources. The only dissatisfaction was with health care costs, which clearly must be reduced.

From a scientific perspective, I believe the six-year Massachusetts experiment has been successful and the model is realistic. Does it need more work? Absolutely. Although health insurers have lowered premiums, health costs remain too high and not transparent to the consumer.

However, as found in the Massachusetts model, the key to sustainability is to maximize participation, to support the conservative principle of individual responsibility, and to penalize those who don't participate with a tax. Divergent constituencies in any state must demonstrate leadership and not be afraid to compromise for the good of the people.

Fifty million people lack health care and look to employers, health providers, and the government for help. Congress and the president must compromise for the good of Americans to make the ACA work and be productive for years to come.

Bernard Mahoney is distinguished professor emeritus, the University of Mary Washington.


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