What Happened in Massachusetts

Mass.The Cato Institute released a policy report today examining the effect of Massachusetts’ health care reform – whose individual mandate and subsidies for insurance are seen as a model for national health care legislation. The authors conclude that:

We find evidence that Massachusetts’ individual mandate induces uninsured residents to conceal their true insurance status. Even setting that source of bias aside, we find the official estimate reported by the Commonwealth almost certainly overstates the law’s impact on insurance coverage, likely by 45 percent. In contrast to previous studies, we find evidence of substantial crowdout of private coverage among low-income adults and children. The law appears to have compressed self-reported health outcomes, without necessarily improving overall health. Our results suggest that more than 60 percent fewer young adults are relocating to Massachusetts as a result of the law. Finally, we conclude that leading estimates understate the law’s cost by at least one third, and likely more.

Oh, and if you thought the title was referring to something else that happened in Massachusetts, like the election of Republican Scott Brown to the US Senate, that also has much to do with health care. As Heritage Kathryn Nix points out, last night’s election sends a message to hit the reset button the health care reform.

But that is not to suggest we “do nothing” – but rather look to real solutions in health care.