States like Massachusetts
have been leading the way with state health care constitutional
amendment campaigns and employer mandate ballot initiatives. To change the direction
of health care nationally one state must have the chance to prove
that a new system can work and move the country forward. Massachusetts seems to have assumed that role for the country. But, there are now more than twenty states working on health care reform. If your state is losing industry and jobs enacting " serious" health care reform is one of the critical changes that can be made.
Unfourtunately, the well known Massachusetts health care reforms adopted a year ago, in consultation with the representatives of the health insurance industry, the provider corporations and some health care activists is just the begining "serious" reforms. But it did give health care activists an opportunity to see the raw power of the industry that our health care dollars fund in action. Instead of either an employer mandate reform or the health care constitutional amendment passing through the Massachusetts legislature, neither passed. What passed was a small step that increases coverage for many, but does little to control costs as witnessed by the rate increases business continues to receive from the carriers.
The fact that a year after passage of the 2006 Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law a crack in the door has been opened is a good thing. Community based non-profit health plans have enrolled tens of thousands of new members and more will be joining. The cost controls that are needed to preserve the high levels of coverage will require Massachusetts to adopt more structural health insurance and health care provider reform over the next decade.