While the summer recess for the legislature is just beginning, so is the debate regarding MassHealth (Medicaid). The Governor has accepted the legislature’s revenue-without-reform proposal regarding MassHealth for the time being, declining to veto their tax hike on employers in order to encourage them to also enact reforms.
For more background and a recommendation for a better course of action, we draw your attention to our New Boston Post Op-Ed, written back in April. If you haven’t read it yet, we strongly encourage you to do so.
Why is this issue so important? MassHealth is crowding out other budget priorities, like schools, police, fire, and it’s anticipated that when the federal government takes action to reform the system, it will result in fewer federal tax dollars flowing to wealthy states like Massachusetts. Calls for higher taxes will increase, as will calls for a Single Payer system that grows government, rations care, and limits parental rights.
Our state Medicaid program, which was originally designed to provide care to the very poor and disabled, has grown to serve as the insurer of one out of three individuals in Massachusetts. It’s grown to 40% of state spending, up 100% since 2008.
In 2008, there were 1.1 million people on Masshealth, and enrollment now stands at 1.9 million. But these new enrollees did not substantially impact the percentage of people reported as uninsured in Massachusetts. That means they already had insurance and moved to state subsidized care, being lured off employer-sponsored plans, or they were not previously counted among the uninsured in MA (illegal immigrants, residents of other states).
The system is clearly breaking, and legislators have said they’ll deal with it later. We need substantial reforms now, not just tax hikes.