Families USA

APRIL 18, 2006
1:01 PM

Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Geraldine Henrich-Koenis, Press Secretary

Massachusetts Becomes First State to Achieve Near-Universal Health Coverage

WASHINGOTN - April 18 - Massachusetts recently enacted landmark legislation designed to cover almost all of the state residents who are currently uninsured. Families USA is hosting today’s briefing at the National Press Club to explore the possible national implications of this historic legislation. The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, about that legislation:

“The landmark health care legislation recently passed by the state of Massachusetts will make health care coverage more affordable for working families and small businesses in the state. This initiative takes the unprecedented step of expanding health care coverage to virtually everyone in Massachusetts. 

“Within three years, this groundbreaking legislation will guarantee affordable health insurance coverage for 95 percent of the state’s approximately 550,000 uninsured citizens.  

“As the first state to enact health reform legislation that will achieve near-universal health coverage, Massachusetts may become a model for other states and the federal government.  Some critical aspects of the plan – such as the size of premium subsidies and the definition of ‘affordable’ for people subject to the individual mandate – are critically important and remain to be determined. They are essential details that will make a big difference in assessing the success of the plan. 

“Massachusetts’s achievement demonstrates that by working in a bipartisan manner, we as a nation can make health care more affordable and accessible. This approach is promising because it offers a mixture of public and private solutions to achieve the goal of affordable health care coverage for workers and small businesses.

“In this current political climate, the only way to make significant headway on the problem of the uninsured is to find ways we can cobble together different approaches that pave the way for the ultimate goal of universal coverage.”