A new survey released yesterday by the Urban Institute finds that more than 97 percent of Massachusetts's residents now have health insurance. Only 167,000 people--or 2.6 percent of the state's residents--were without health coverage. Uninsurance was higher among non-elderly adults, with 3.7 percent of those age 18-64 lacking coverage. For individuals making less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, the rate of insurance averaged about 5 percent.
Two years after Massachusetts passed its landmark reform the legislation the continued decrease in the number of uninsured is an encouraging sign for proponents of national health reform. In a related article in today's Boston Globe noted Massachusetts' centrist approach built on the existing system to achieve consensus. As Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health told the paper: "What Massachusetts demonstrates is, it can be done. ... It's really important because people have talked about what we might do for years and years and years. This shows it can work, and for the most part, it can be highly functional."
Of course there are some limits to the broader application of the Massachusetts model. As the Globe notes national health reform will require: "more muscular efforts to reduce medical costs and improve quality—components that leaders in both parties agree are extremely important and which some specialists say are best addressed on national scale."