Massachusetts Health Reform: Solution or Stopgap?

Questions about the Massachusetts health plan? This brochure might help you sort through this recently popular “blueprint” for a national healthcare plan. Get all the details about the limits of mandates and keeping private health insurance companies in the mix.

From the brochure:

Massachusetts health reform (known as “Chapter 58”) has been billed as a “model for the nation” and a “blueprint to universal coverage.” This rhetoric has generated expectations that Massachusetts residents of all incomes will be able to get affordable coverage. This hype distracts us from what really has been achieved, what hasn’t, and the strengths and weaknesses of the political strategy that brought us the new law.

Download Massachusetts Health Reform: Solution or Stopgap?.


  1. Jane Trullo on December 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    As a Mass resident, tax preparer and as of January 09 uninsured, the health reform is hurting the masses of middle and lower class.

    As a tax preparer, the only documentation needed for the state form is simply the health insurance ID number and name of the insurance company. When I heard that 95% of Mass is insured, I had to laugh. Who is actually following up that the information is valid and actually still active?

    Then on the other hand, I have customers tell me that it’s cheaper to lose the state exemption then it is to pay for health insurance. I’ve also had clients who have applied for subsidized health care coverage and been denied. These people don’t have anything. I can’t tell you the number of people digging into their retirement accounts just to live.

    As the almost uninsured, I’m really angry! I work part time, at a very large hospital in Boston. I work for health benefits for my husband, myself and 3 children. Currently I’m paying $300 more than the full time employees and now they want me to pay $500 more for a total of $757. I don’t make that much money in a month! I also make too much, according to the state to qualify for any subsidized coverage for my family.

    I think that everyone should send a copy of “Sicko” to they’re employers and to Deval Patrick. I know that I am.

  2. Doug on December 15, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    This plan is horrible! All it really does is to insure that the for profit health insurance companies can continue to gorge Us. It does nothing to control costs or to make sure that the sick and needy get the medical care they need.
    Yet it fines citizens for not being able to afford profit health insurance.
    As a older person I have the mandate to pay at least 3 times as much for Health Ins. as a younger person who has large deductables. But I would still not get 100% coverage, which in all the other civilized countries do get 100% coverage.
    The problem here in America is the for profit health insurance companies. No other civilized country allows it and their costs are 2 to 3 times lower and coverage 100%. Plus no one in those countries ever goes bankrupt because they are sick and can’t afford health care.

  3. PatriciaHill on January 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I, too, will be uninsured as of January 2009. I am self-employed, in my mid-50s, with one child. The cheapest plan here in Western MA will consume close to 16% of my gross income — while offering high deductibles and co-pays. I can’t afford it, and I’m not going to buy it. And while we’re on the subject, why do I have to pay for a plan with over 40 mandated benefits, half of which I will never, ever use (in vitro fertilization, lead poisoning tests, alcohol treatment, etc.)? Why can’t I buy a good, catastrophic plan with a reasonable deductible, to cover the big emergency, plus open an HSA to cover my routine expenses? Why can’t I buy a plan from an out-of-state insurer, of which there are many good ones? The MA plan is the absolute worst combination: high cost, inadequate coverage, and draconian penalties.

    • Eliza Jane Dodd on February 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

      Hey Patricia .I am 46 Female from Tennessee and I have been to the Human Services Several Times since 2003 .Both times they told me to have a baby and I could get TennCare ,I have moved far away from Tennessee after living there 30 years .I moved to Texas thought it would be better .I now have colon cancer and they Human Services told me the same thing , to have a baby .Now I talk to everyone about HR676 and take my spare money $10. and buy copies to make about HR676 and every person I give it to wants HR676 , most all my age with No Health Care .Average wait time in the County @Dallas JPS county is 19 hours long , 2 months ago a man 45 died from waiting 19 hrs he was haveing a heart attack .With Out HR676 I am a Dead Woman .The Reason TennCare went bankrupt in 2003 was WALMART and illegal’s ,Watch ,What Now Mr. President on youtube I now take natural cures to stay alive Purple Corn from Peru from Global Fusion and I take curcumin .I once had BCBS of Tn Cobra @17 yrs @ $7,500 a Year and I only used it ONE time in 17 Years .I had Vulva Cancer and the OBGYN gave me VIOXX .He got a vaction and a bonus from Merrikk and I had to fight for 3 months to get the cancer removed ! Then I was dropped and now I just cant afford health care @$1,200 a month President Obama said would cost me .I might as well not been born .I am invisable .I cant afford anything but Death and I cant afford that .Who’s is going to bury me ?

  4. Kellner on January 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    It’s sad that a proper health care always depends on money.

  5. Shannon Brown on January 12, 2009 at 8:20 am

    As a self employed individual who puts out over $400 in a month for private insurance on just myself and then I only use it for going to the doctor for a checkup once a year I am extremely interested in the subject. I feel that those like myself who are healthy should be awarded to better rates than those who are taking up the time of a doctor every time the sneeze.

    • Eliza Jane Dodd on February 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      Shannon I had BCBS of Tenn.I was very active and healthy and I paid $7,500 a yr @ 17 and ya think they would of helped me 123 ? No I had to fight with the OBGYN to get the cancer removed .First it was Vioxx and then Narcotics and then Liquid narcotics ..finally I FOUGHT to get a operation .I have serveral after I lost my health care Horror stories ..You become INVISABLE !

  6. JAck on March 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Hard to beleive how many people don’t see that health care should be treated as a right not a product for sale or profit. Somebody always has to take care of the poor and the less fortunate even the losers. Whats happened here in Anerica that we’ve become so callous and selfish. Even sadder is that I truly beleive it is probably costing us more the way things are than if we had a National health system that took care of everybody. It just makes sense with all the people in the middle making money off the care as opposed to all that money going to the care. Not much Common Sense left out there today!!!!!

  7. Paul Crowley on March 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    This plan is killing me. I think it’s a scam to get the insurance companies rich and make the politicians look like heroes. I am self employed. I left work and a good job to care for my mother in a nursing home.She is now gone and I make barely enough to cover bills. It takes me until July to cover my health insance bills.I am 59 and take NO medications whatsoever, but since january I have to pay for prescription drug coverage that I don’t need and can’t afford. It is an extra $672 a year that I don’t have. The next enrollment period in june when they do thier annual price increase (what else)I am going to pick a cheaper, higher deductable plan that helps offset the drug plan that was shoved down my throat. And the insurance people are laughing all the way to the bank. Ah, the Massachusetts miracle!And I end up with a plan that I don’t really want.

  8. Frank on April 16, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Health insurance companies TAKE A THIRD OF EVERY HEALTHCARE DOLLAR. If America switched to a single payer system, we could afford to give EVERYBODY high quality care.

    What would we lose?

    Stress – Stress causes literally hundreds of diseases..

    Go to and search on stress and the remaining search terms in combination. Follow “related links” to other papers. Get more search terms from them to extend your search.

    You can mail the results to yourself.

    stress, allostasis, allostatic load, corticosteroid,
    Glucocorticoid, neuroinflammation, psychosocial stress, hippocampal function,

  9. Linda on June 19, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Lets crunch some more numbers. This time its California. Female, 58, caregiver for life of parents now gone. No SS or Medicare. Now living on 2300 a month and paying 800 a month on a HMO. And it goes up a 100 dollars a year. And after searching for some more affordable plan, surprise, its either this or nothing. The 2300 a month is forever and so are the taxes. I cannot afford HMO but will keep it till the Heath reform gets passed. If it does not get passed I will have to give up.

  10. Linda on June 19, 2009 at 1:40 am

    And Friends please don’t speak of deductibles! If you have a copay or deductible you really don’t have Health Insurance. 20% 30%? You cannot afford to pay these things!

  11. Jack on June 19, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I thought we lived in a free country not one that makes you buy something you do not want or cannot afford. I am a small business owner and with the slow economy I have been trying to reduce expenses any way I can. The MA tells me all the money I saved has to be spent on a healthcare plan I do not need or want, and if I do not the will fine me. This is not the solution to the problem. Same old government, I work hard so they can take my money.

  12. Cindy on July 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    No one seems to be listening since I only seem to hear about how great the new MA plan is. I wouldn’t know because I can’t afford it. I lost my job over a year ago and couldn’t afford COBRA so I tried to get on the MA plan.

    1. I couldn’t afford it. They based their estimates on what I made in the prior year, not what I could afford going forward. Even when I entered what I would be getting from unemployment, they thought I could pay more than I know I can afford (since I’m getting less than half of what I was making before and it barely covers the basics of food and shelter).

    2. Knowing that it is now illegal for me NOT to have insurance, and I’m usually a stickler for following the rules (I don’t even speed or cheat on my taxes). I clicked through to see what I would be getting if I did sign up and there was not a single plan available to me even if I could afford the premiums.

    3. My extended family, many who are either self-employed and/or work part-time (one works at a hospital and can’t get health ins!) have had many problems with this program. They haven’t been able to get doctors (none of us live in Boston, so the doctors assigned have been up to 1.5 hours away or on opposite ends of the state for different immediate family members). The premiums went from under $200 per person per month to close to $500 per person for month in just over a year (with no claims other than annual physicals!)

    4. Our local community health center, the people who have been treating the people in our community without means, the ones who have been advocating for healthcare for the uninsured think it’s a terrible system. As one woman I spoke to there said “we wanted changes to the system, but this isn’t what we meant. It isn’t helping anyone and has actually made things worse.”

    I’m not sure why the new administrations (in MA and in the US) promote it so much since it’s not working and obviously designed to benefit the insurance companies while pretending to help the people. It was passed while Mitt Romney, a very wealthy Republican, was governor. It’s a bad system that isn’t working and never will.

    A single-payer system, even if bureaucratic, will remove much of the inefficient bureaucracy of the current system at its core. With the process simplified, doctors and hospitals can streamline their administrative processes, which add very little value to the actual provision of health care.

  13. miss on October 10, 2009 at 4:23 am

    At first I thought this was the greatest thing, until I found out that I had a deductible. Well, I am unemployed and get a little less than 300 a week. I can barely afford to live now I owe a hospital almost 1000 bucks! I can’t afford to pay them. Thankfully they don’t put overdue balances on your credit report or I’d be screwed.
    So I do the right thing, get health insurance and get screwed. If I didn’t have health insurance I’d be screwed too. What is with these high deductibles? It’s a scam.
    Yes, the Mass Unemployment pays 80 percent of my premium and thats good but its not good when I have a 2500 deductible. What!!

    I wish I was an immigrant seriously. NOthing at all against immigrants, but I visted a website run by the state and they quailify for free care, MORE care than what a US citizen gets. What is up with that