“The fines have gone down because more and more people have taken up the insurance and it’s been good for people,” Gov. Patrick said on Daily Rundown. “We’re healthier, more employers are offering insurance than ever before. The expansion has added 1% to our state budget, so it hasn’t been a budget-buster.”
Massachusetts health care reform law was made law in 2006 by then governor Mitt Romney who now opposes the national Affordable Care Act that creates a federal health insurance mandate.
Gov. Patrick explained how the mandate has brought health care costs down overall.
“There’s a basic insurance premise—this is really where the individual mandate comes from—that if you spread you the risk as broadly as possible, you bring total system costs down and we have seen that,” he said. “Fewer people get their primary care service in expensive emergency room settings and instead get them in primary care settings. When we talk about the cost to government, we’re talking about the small number of folks whose costs are subsidized.”
Patrick noted the political challenge that remains for President Obama, saying that while the federal law remains unpopular among Americans, residents of Massachusetts consistently praise the state-law by two-thirds in poll after poll.
“There’s a lot of work that has to be done to tell the benefits to people,” he said.