Ever since 2006, when then-Gov. Mitt Romney worked together with the state legislature to craft a landmark health care bill that served as a model for Obamacare a few years later, Massachusetts — which boasts the highest rate of insured citizens of any state in the country — has been a leader in providing comprehensive health care to all of our citizens.
But as with everything in life, nothing stays the same. Change always is needed not only to improve upon what was done initially, but also to keep up with new circumstances.
The announcement last week by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito of comprehensive health care legislation that will bring about significant reforms to our health care system represents a necessary response to the always-evolving world of health care that affects every citizen in our state.
The Baker-Polito plan aims to improve outcomes for patients by increasing access to behavioral health and primary care services, while also bringing down costs both for individuals and for the state.
The reforms will cut down on the hidden costs that currently blindside consumers and impact the overall system. The legislation also holds drug companies accountable for excessive prices and unjustified price increases, and supports distressed community hospitals and community health centers.
The Baker-Polito bill has wide-ranging support from many stakeholders in our health care system, with the lone exception being — surprise! — the drug companies, whose exorbitant prices adversely impact the quality of health care at all levels of the system.
We applaud the plan of Gov. Baker — who, it should be noted, was the head of Harvard-Pilgrim before becoming governor and thus brings more expertise to the subject of health insurance than almost anyone else in the state — and Lt. Gov. Polito for their efforts to strengthen our best-in-the-nation system of health care.
We know that the legislature also is working on a similar track and will join together with Gov. Baker on this issue, leaving us with no doubt that Massachusetts will continue to be the national leader in health care and health insurance as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.