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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts recently released a report on the state's five-year old landmark health care law.

Given the national clamor over health care reform generated in the Republican presidential primary campaign, as well as the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments over the constitutionality of the federal health care law, the BCBSFMA report is especially timely as a point of reference to view the progress of what is widely viewed as the model for the nation's health care law.

"The overarching goal of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law was to achieve nearly universal health insurance coverage for the state’s 6.5 million residents," the report states."

"In the five years since the law’s enactment, that goal has been effectively achieved. An estimated 98.1 percent of Massachusetts residents have health insurance coverage, including 99.8 percent of children. The gains in coverage, most of which occurred during the first two years of health reform implementation, have been maintained despite the effects of the nation’s severe and sustained economic downturn.

"So what lies ahead? To a large extent, the future of Massachusetts health care reform will be shaped by two major questions. Can the state's high rate of health care spending be moderated? And what will be the impact of the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?  All of the stakeholders involved in shaping the 2006 health care reform law now agree that the top priority for Massachusetts health care is to make it more affordable.

"There is also a broad consensus that reforms in provided payment need to be accompanied by significant improvements in the efficiency, effectiveness and coordination of patient care and by an increased commitment to prevention, wellness, Still to be determined is what, if any, combination of legislative action and private sector initiatives on the part of providers, insurers employers, and consumer can 'bend the trend' and make high-quality health care more affordable."

BCBSFMA has also published a fact-checking report compiled by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The report (one of many published by the Center's reviews the various claims about how the Massachusetts law is or is not working, and is a great resource for facts, as opposed to fiction.

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