Monday, June 29, 2009

Not a surprise

The Boston Globe reports that cutbacks will be made in that state's universal health care program. Once hailed as a national model, the individual-mandate-based plan has been criticized for reducing access to care for some of the state's poorest residents and for over-estimating the numbers of uninsured now receiving coverage through the program. From last week's Globe story:

Overseers of Massachusetts’ trailblazing healthcare program made their first cuts yesterday, trimming $115 million, or 12 percent, from Commonwealth Care, which subsidizes premiums for needy residents and is the centerpiece of the 2006 law.

The board of the Connector Authority made the cuts as officials confronted two side effects of the recession: the state budget crisis and a surge in enrollment by the recently unemployed.

The largest share of the savings will come from slowing enrollment. An estimated 18,000 poor residents who qualify for full subsidies, but who forget to designate a health plan, will no longer be automatically assigned a plan and enrolled and thus could face delays in getting care.

Additional cutbacks will be made in coverage to legal immigrants and by eliminating dental care.

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