The famous Massachusetts health care law became a reality in the year 2006 after a long period of attempts to realize this goal. The journey towards the establishment of the law did not begin recently rather it began 27 years ago when the Uncompensated Care Trust Fund first came into existence (Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries). The excellent bill that has today seen every single individual in Massachusetts benefit from a medical insurance cover is something to celebrate. The medical cost was rising and this got the attention of leaders both political and business leaders. They felt that medical costs needed to be contained so that the public can be able access medical services with ease. The increase in the number of uninsured individuals was also escalating rapidly and this too needed intervention.
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This particular health care law seeks to regulate the insurance market that had become prohibitive in terms of cost. Only rich people could afford insurance cover with the rest left out in the insurance plan. The understanding of the importance of health insurance prompted the federal officials to start considering formulating a law to solve this issue. The importance of a healthy nation is obvious since health care is the main factor that drives Massachusetts’ economy. Enacted as chapter 58 of the acts of 2006, the law’s title is ‘An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, and Accountable Health Care’ (Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries).
The law stands on features that are; general law provisions, special law provisions and the appropriation language (Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries). The general law provisions have a general applicability while the special law provisions have time-bound applicability (Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries). Appropriation language is in essence a type of special law provision that specifies the number of funds the government can use for a certain purpose (Health connector). The bill intends to provide health insurance coverage to all the residents. This is through Medicaid development, by funding private insurance packages and through insurance market restructuring. Massachusetts Governor Romney signed the bill into law giving a number of parties the responsibility to finance the health insurance cover.
First in the chain of responsibility is the individual who has to take and pay for medical coverage. This is why the federal government had to regulate the market and ensure that the covers are accessible and affordable to residents. The second party charged with the responsibility to fund health coverage is the state. The government will achieve this through subsidies and expanding Medicare services. To shield the health institutions from undergoing losses; the state should cater for the Uncompensated Care Pool ‘UCP’. The other party charged also with the responsibility to sustain this bill is the employers through a fair share contribution (Health connector).
Regulatory bodies by the federal government
Massachusetts residents are required to obtain insurance covers that are available to them and affordable as well. The government in response to show commitment to this bill, formed a regulatory body called the ‘Connector’. This body’s mandate is to set and regulate affordable plans considering the residents’ income. After examining an individual’s income, a reasonable percentage to be spent on health care is determined. The bill caters to Low-income populations through the Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program ‘C-CHIP’. The Connector is the body responsible to manage this program. It mainly deals with the people who have no access to insurance covers that get sponsorship from employers. The cover considers also small groups of employers normally with less than 50 employees (Health connector).
The bill is also very keen on effecting reforms in the insurance market to ensure that the residents benefit from these covers. It merged different groups of insurance specifically the small-groups and the non-groups health insurance markets. Young people as well can now enjoy coverage as the bill allows health insurance companies to offer insurance products to them. The age bracket set for young people is between 19 to 26 years and individuals who do not benefit from the employer-sponsored covers. This bill built from the great idea of the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ‘EMTALA’ is important in the lives of Massachusetts residents (Foundation Massachusetts).
Leaders’ role in the amendments
Political leaders in 2004 were calling again for major reforms in the health care insurance system (Foundation Massachusetts). The house of the senate passed the health care bill will slight amendments from the original proposal as prepared by Governor Romney. They expanded the Medicaid and the SCHIP coverage to cover even children as well as restoring public programs on health. The government protected small businesses and individuals by limiting the value of premiums they should pay. This control came as a relief to the residents although to the insurance industry players it had a negative impact financially.
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The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority ‘CHICA’ is the body that is responsible as indicated earlier for plans and payments of the health insurance system. It facilitates the access to commonwealth care programs to the majority of low-income earners according to the eligibility procedures put in place. In addition, it covers individuals who are unemployed or who although employed, their employer is small business entrepreneurs with less than 50 employees. Some employees employed by large-business employers do not qualify for healthcare coverage under the employer’s plan. This group of people also benefit from this plan too together with the self-employed and part-time workers.
Throughout the years since 2006, the bill has been undergoing some amendments to make it better than it was initially. The first amendment took place in 2007 and was An Act Further Regulating Health Care Access. These amendments strengthened the bill by protecting patients’ privacy and preventing any action that could lead to an increase in the cost of health care. The success of this bill stands on a firm foundation of an endeavor that started two decades ago. However, it took the wisdom and strategic deliberations of leaders in the legislative and executive branches to bring it to reality.
First was coming up with the specific problems that required solutions, which included the escalating cost of health insurance covers as well as containment of the increasing cost. They later prepared a problem-solving approach to these problems by assessing the political, economic, and operating feasibility of their approach. The bipartisan council of parties from the federal side as well as from the corporate world was fundamental in ensuring that they represent both parties unrestrainedly. The success of this bill is therefore a product of political goodwill and the desire for leaders to make life better for their fellow citizens. Massachusetts’ residents do not worry anymore about health care, as the structures put in place are effective and sufficient to cater to their health care needs.
Foundation Massachusetts 2012. Web.
Health connector 2012. Web.
Massachusetts Trial Court law Libraries 2012. Web.