Forum Session

Health Care for All in Massachusetts: Implications for a Changing Safety Net
June 20, 2006


Laura A. Dummit & Lisa Sprague, MBA


The recent passage of Massachusetts health reform has reignited national discussions about how to provide care to people who do not have health insurance. The Massachusetts governor and legislature, with considerable input from residents and from the insurer and provider communities, developed a plan to expand insurance coverage to most of the commonwealth’s uninsured. The strategy involves a gradual shift from direct financial support of the hospitals and community health centers that comprise the safety net to expanded insurance coverage for individuals. How the new approach in Massachusetts plays out will depend on the adequacy of financing and on the participation of individuals, providers, employers, and insurers. Even before its success can be evaluated, the Massachusetts experiment presents an opportunity for policymakers to examine the types of trade-offs that were needed to bring all stakeholders together to address the goal of universal coverage.


John Holahan, Director, Health Policy Research Center, The Urban Institute; Andrew Dreyfus, Executive Vice President, Health Care Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; William Walczak, Chief Executive Officer, Codman Square Health

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