Since the bill became law, the state’s total direct health-care spending has increased by a remarkable 52 percent. Medicaid spending has gone from less than $6 billion a year to more the $9 billion. Many consumers have seen double-digit percentage increases in their premiums.
Even more striking, the 2006 law has done little to ease the burden on emergency rooms, a central goal of all heath care reform plans. A report by the Boston Globe found that in the first two years of the program, the state’s ER costs actually rose by 17 percent. “They said that ER visits would drop by 75 percent, and it hasn’t been even close to that,” said State Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is currently running for governor as an Independent. “It hasn’t changed people’s habits. It hasn’t been successful at getting people to use less expensive alternatives.”
According to Cahill, Massachusetts is still afloat thanks only to generous federal subsidies, Medicaid waivers and gobs of recent stimulus money. “I’m worried that now that this national plan has passed, some of that federal money will start drying up — that the feds might tell us, ‘No, sorry you can’t have this money because we have to go cover Texas now,’” Cahill told The Daily Caller.